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In the Summer and Fall of 1854. 


Attached to the Expe^allun. 

Mo. BotGm-rli-n. 




18 5 6. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 

Kastern District of PcunsylTania. 





/ Dedicate my Book 





Act of Texas Legislature.— Cap t. Marcy ordered to take Command.— De- 
parture firom X^w York.— Arrival at Tort Smith.— Fitting out the Train.— 

Departure for Fort Washita.— Incidents of the first two days 



Arriye at the Agency.— Law agsdnst introduction of whiskey among the 


Indians.—Ball play.— Profanity among teamsters.— Description of an Indian 
family and hut.— Accident to wagon.— Meeting of friends.— Pass the nar- 
rows.— Bituminous coal found.— Emigrant's grave.— Night in an Indian 
hut— The sub-Chief and his peculiarities.— Arrival at the Fouche Maliant.— 
ArriTal at the Council-House.— Singular pottery found.— Description of 
prairie scenery.— Flies troublesome,— Mutiny among teamsters.- Detention 
of train.— DeBcription of the Indian in his home ^T 




married to squaws, 

. — Coal 


ant.— Soil, limestone.— Army worm.— Severe storm.— Emigrants met' with.— 
Arrive at the Boggy. -Choctaw Bwamp.-TTild cattle.— Train stopped.— Start 
for the fort.— EUes trouUesom*.— Cross the Blue.— Arrive at Washita 42 



BescripUon of the Post,— Pleasant stay among our friends,— Fossiliferous 


thpoagh the country.— Indians met with.— Soil of the Choclaw and Chinka- 


saw Reserves.—ReraarkB upon the Natives.— Territorial Bill.— Captain 
leaves on 22d with part of the Train.... 52 



Leave the Fort.— Military escort,— Adventure with a Chickasaw.— Arrive 
at Red River.— Scenes at the Ferry.— Town of Preston.— -Desperate fight. — 
Description of soil, &c. — Cross Big Mineral. — Basin Spring. — Didtances on 
Plains deceptiTe,— j^rrive at Lower Cross Timbers 67 



Camp on Elm Fork of Trinity.— Independence day. — Arrival of Indian 
hunters.— Remarks on the Del a wares.— Arrival at Gaineflville.— Description 

o Tornado. — Funny scene in Gainesville.— I^st house in Tex as. —Parlance 


of the settl'ePB.—Cauip on the Trinity.— Nife^lat uiarcli.--Mainier of trarking 
horses hy the Intlians.— First rattlesnRke killed.— Arrival at Upper Cross 


Timbers ■ < .» •»••• 81 



Thoughts at Sunset. — ^Enter thp Timber. — Camp firo half way.^OId 


soldier brought in. — Jackson's Adventure,— Singular Mounds. — The Bela* 
wares m Camp.—Sunset Scene. — Arrive at Little Witchita ^ 



Curious phenomenon.— Buffalo signs seen.— History of the buffalo.--T>eer 
fcleat.— Me-squite trees.— Captain leaves for Belknap.— Ox killed.— Wolves 
abundant.—Indian relics found.— Wild horse tracks seen.— Wild passion 
flower.— Kicka poo camp.— Arrive at Cotton Wood Spring 100 



Officers leave.— Description of Camp.— Wild Indians come in,— Treatment 
of Squaws. — Visit of the Indians.— Indiaa Bivouac— Departure of Indians.— 
Captain and party arrive.— Major NVigh^ours.- Desmptlon of onr Indian 
Corps - • 





Leaxe the road. — Description of country from Red Riyer.— Stock raising 
in Texas. — Buck killed.— Indian cookery. — Description of Bluffs. — Kickapoo 
grave. — Cactus seen.— Deer called up by bleat. — Mestjuite Beans.— Brld^ng 
Eavines.—BIack Flies.— Cross Crater.—Snakes shot.— Arrive at Little Witch- 
ita. — Mesquite Grass. — Indian signs. — Manner of lariating.— Valley of "Witch- 
ita. — Fine scenery on the Plains. — Antelope killed. — Anxiety about Horses. — 
Jackass Rabbit killed. — Breezes on the Plains. — ^Exploring Party leave. — 
Arrive at branch of Big Witchit a.— Repairing Wagons, — ^Intense weather. — 
Effect of the atmosphere.— Oxen missing. — Reach the Little Witcbita. — 
Exploring Party return.— Insects on the Plains.— Fawn chase. — Camanche 
grave. — Reach the Divide 118 



Water scarce. — Iron and Copper found. — Black Lizard.— Scorpion caught. — 
Camanche signal.- Preparations for exploring party with pack mules, &c. — 
Party leave. — Antelopes seen. — Barren country. — Bad water. — Filling water- 
aacks. — ^Witchita trail.— Conner's sagacity. — Chapparal cock. — Reach Big Wit- 
chita.— Quick sands.— Accidents frequent.— Dexterity of Indians in skinning 
deer.— Bluffs met with.— Bivouac on bluff.— Fire in bivouac. — Twilight des- 
cribed. — Rattlesnake killed. — Gypsum found. — Stream crooked, — Bitter 
water. — Sickness in the party.— Large grasshopper found.— Insects scarce. — 
Head of Big Witcbita. — Travelling South.— Limestone water found. — Ca- 


manche grave. — Singular ridge. — Man lost. — Bivouac on Brazos. — Alarm in 



bivouac,— Prairie Dog town. — Catfish Creek. — Camanche trail. — Rough 
country. — Singular knobs. — Hard times. — ^Tan very ill.— Gypsum mountain. 
— Cross fork of Brazos.— Better country.— Prairie Dogs.— Table Mountain. — 
Arrive on Llano Esctacado. — Head of the Brazos 141 




Eectacado.— Grand View. — I>esceiid 
le BiTonac— Curious Bitrht.— Panth< 


plenty.— Singular bush.— Ctain of lakes.— Beautiful spring.— rieasant 
Bivouac— Mes<iuite Gum.— Kickapoos.— Fish shot.— Manner of spearing 
fish.— Reach our Camp.— Move Camp.— Flat Rocfe Creek. 162 



Camp in fiamea.— Hot weather.— Great change.— Accident to Train — 
Jacobs leares.- Jackson the Delaware.— First Camaachea met.— Description 
of.Ke-tum-e-seeand wires.— Talk held.— Camp at Double Mountain Fork. 
—Chief and wives leave.— Large Cactus met with.— Reach the Clear Fork-— 
Stem's Rancho.— Indian Justice.— Camp on Hear Fork.„ 176 



Sul^chiefe arrive,- Incidents with the chiefe.— Story of the German 
settlement.— Exploring the country.— Se-naHX) and party arrive.- Des- 
cription of the party.— Interesting woman.— Invalid discribed.— Mexican 

boy.— Xaroni and his costume.— Camanche women.— Camanchc lance and 
_._- 1 1 t'-.j: *u- T»..K««*. T/^J^«4*« rtf fTie fnpn described. — Indian 


dance.— Dressing Ekius— Council held.-Presents distributed.— Women 
bathing.— Plan of hardening horses' hoofs.— Little Mexican.— Indian! 
leave.— Remarks upon traders.- New Bpecies of Siuirrels.— Ke-tum-e-pee 
and the invalid.— Excitement in camp.— Move camp ^88 



Survey concluded.—Leave for Fort Belknap.— Description of country 
passed oyer.— Manner of designating Indian Camps by the Delawares.— 
Arrive at Fort Belknap.— Indian Council held.— Bear Head the interpreter. 
—Description of Fort Belknap,— Lieut. Givings, a true sportsman.— Puma 
chase.— March to Caddo Village.— Description of the Village.— Jim Shaw 
and his family.— Grasses met with on oxir trip.— Finit^h the Survey.— Leave 

for home 





Names of the tribes. — John Conner the Delaware Guide.— Customs 
among tho Delawares. — Traits of character with anecdotes illustrative. — 
Descnptions of other tribes. — Creek green-corn dance and feast.— Trwlitions 
among the tribes.— Incidents of the Quapaws. — ^The CamancheSj number 
and division. — Supposed origin,— Religio ii g ideas.—Contenipt for the whites. 
— Treatment of women. — Customs among them. — Their habits.— Anecdote? 

of the Camauches. — General Kemarks.... 221 



These desultory Notes, taken merely to refresh my memory 
wheu recurring to scenes so fraught, to me, with interesting 
reminiscences, would never have met the public eye had it 


not been for the kind and flattering solicitations of friends 


who have perused my journal ; and if, by putting them in 
print, I can excite one-half the interest and pleasure with the 
general reader which the expedition gave me, I shall be amply 
repaid for tlie time spent and the care taken in writing my 


lu the arrangement of my work my object is twofold, viz., 

to impart all tie information I can respecting the physical 

character of t!ie country passed through on the whole line of 

our march from the frontier, and to entertain, by relating from 

personal observation, scenes and incidents of daily occurrence, 

whilst roaming through so wild a region as the far South- 

Associated as I was with men of long experience m the 

performance of similar duties, my observations have been 
aided by scientific knowledge, whilst the protection of a gov- 
ernment escort gave opportunity for close inspection, without 
the harrassing anticipation of attack and disaster— a great 
barrier to thorongh investigation of a country by private 


Many of my scenes and iuciileuts in prairie an J Indian life 
are a personal narrative. * Where not, they are taken from the 
mouths of those wlio were witnesses or actors in them, and 
whose long experience gives them a right to full confidence on 


my part. 

As a personal narrative, I have not thought proper to be 
minute, but in mentioning soil, climate and natural history 
have spoken in general terms, except a few digressions, which 
I thought necessary to fully understand the subject. 

This is now the fourth expedition that Captain Marcy has 
accomplished, with honour and credit to himself, and to the 


satisfaction of the government. Major Neighbours had lived 
the best years of his life upon the frontier, and had spent four- 
teen years in intimate relation with the wild Indians, Dr. Shu- 

mard had the experience of the Red River trip under Captain 
Marcy, besides being well versed in geology, mineralogy, and 
natural history; whilst the corps of Indian hunters and guides 
were themselves efficient by birth and habit, and led by a Del- 
aware of intelligence and great experience, whose traits and 
stories of Indian life were imparted with freedom, and eveij 
reason for full reliability. 

AYith such advantages, I trust I have made a book, reliable 
for what information it may contain, and entertaining, from 
the incidents I have endeavoured to combine witli what might 
be otherwise considered dry detail. 




Act of Texas Legislaturo.— Capt. Marcy ordered to take Command.— Departure 
from Xew York.— Arrival at Fort Smith.— Fitting out the Train.— Departure 
for Fort "VTafhita.— Incidents of the first two days. 

The great drawback to rapid settlement beyond the frontier 
of the Soutli and West, is the depredations coniniitted by the 
roving bands of Indians, who subsist in that region. These 
people live an entirely nomadic life, have no settled homes, 
wander from place to place over the vast plains in search of 
game or plunder, and living in this precarious way, arc neces- 
sarily often reduced to a state of starvation. As they live 
entirely upon flesh, large quantities are of course consumed, 
and when reduced to short allowance, they eat horses and 
mules. This, together with the necessity of having animala 
to transport themselves and iixmilies, also to use in war and 
the chase, induces constant forays upon exposed situations, 
when murder, rapine and captivity arc the inevitable results 
to the hapless settler. Many well cultivated spots have thus 
been broken up and abandoned, and the continuance of the 
evil retards emigration and enterprize to such an extent that 
laro-e tracts of the most fertile kind are left tenautless. 

To remove this scourge from her territory, the State of 



Texas, by an act of her Legislature, approved Feb. Cth, 3 854, 
appropriated eighteen square leagues of her unlocated lands, 
to form a reserve, for the settlement of all the Indians withia 


her borders, on condition that the United States government 
would cause these lands to be located and surveyed, and 
would induce the Indians to settle upon them, confine them- 
selves to their limits, go to farming, and quit their wandering 
and predatory habits, — the United States government also 
agreeing to send agricultural implements, seeds, men to teach ■- 
the Indians to farm and take care of stock, and subsisteuco 
for the Indians until a crop was raised. 

The Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Interior, 
issued orders in April of the same year, to Captain Marcy, 
then In New York, to repair forthwith to Fort Smith, on the 


frontier of Arkansas, and organize an expedition to carry 
out tlie provisions of this act. 

The previous reputation of this officer, his long experience 
and thorough knowledge of prairie and frontier life, eminently 
qualified him for this duty, connected with which he was also 
required to penetrate the terra incognita at the head waters 
of the Big Washita and Brazos rivers, explore these streams 
to their sources, and ascertain the description of country 
where they take their rise. 

The long and friendly intimacy that had existed between 
the Captain and myself, aflbrded me an opportunity to realize 
what has been to me the dream of my whole life, viz., a tour 
over the vast plains of the far South-west; and it was with 



no little pleasure and self-congratulation that I availed 
myself of it, as I should have, not only an intimate friend 
of noble spirit, energy and experience for my companion and 
director, but also the sanction and protection of the govern- 
ment. As may be supposed, no persuasion was necessary, 
and though the time was short, my preparations were soon 

Captain i\Tarcy's orders arrived on the 26th of April, and 
- on the 4th of May we left New York, arriving in Fort Smith 
on the 18th, when the Captain, with his accustomed energy, 
aided by the efficient Quartermaster, Captain French, imme- 
diately set about his_ preparations, and with such perseve- 
rance and success, that by the 1st of June we were ready for 
our long journey. 


The town of Fort Smith, (in the suburbs of which stands 
the garrison,) is a place of considerable commercial impor- 
tance, doing a large Indian and up river trade. It stands 
upon the Arkansas river, near the mouth of the Poteau, 
and contains about twenty-five hundred inhabitants. 

The garrison is well and substantially built of brick, and 
was at the time, the head quarters of the seventh infantry, 
commanded by Colonel Wilson, who, during the Mexican war 


was governor of Vera Cruz. This officer, took a deep interest 

in the expedition, (as he does in everything national,) and to 

him, we were indebted for many civilities, during our short 

The Captain here secured the services of Dr. G. G. 


ShumarJ (a resident physician of Fort Smith,) who accom- 
panied him on his Ked river exploration, as surgeon and 
naturalist, and joined tis in the same capacity. He was an 
ardent enthusiast ia the cause of science and, most indefati- 
gable in its pursuit. 

By orders, we wore to get our military escort at Fort 
ArLuckle, ahout one hundred and twenty miles west, but the 
Captain determined, to march with our train through the 
Choctaw county to Fort Washita and meet the escort there, 


US the road was smoother, and more travelled — a great differ- 
ence in our favor, with our heavy train. 

June 1st. — We left Fort Smith at noon, and crossing tte 
Poteau river, immediately in rear of the garrison, entered 
upon the Choctaw Eeserve, "en route" for Fort AVashita, 
one hundred and eighty miles distant. 

Our train consisted of nine wagons, containing provisions, 
ammunition, camp crpiipage, small stores, and every thing 
necessary for our journey. Each of these was drawn by 
three yokes of oxen; we had, besides,' ten horses, an ambu- 
ance drawn by two mules, and fifteen men, as teamsters, 

lartificers, cooks and hostlers. 

The road, which was narrow, witli but a single track, ran 
through a rich alluvial bottom, overgrown with a dense, 

luxuriant growth of wild cane and immense cotton-wood trees, 
and owing to the prevalence of late rains, was one quagmire 
for ten miles. 

Our oxen, (unaccustomed to their drivers, and to a service 


which, from the depth of the road, was so entirely different 
from steady farm work,) proved very refractory, so it was 
not long before two wagons were broken down, and to add 
to our difficulties, a violent storm arose, of wind, rain, hail, 
thunder, and lightning, fully realizing the truth of the old 

adage, "it never rains but it pours." 

^ Owing to these circumstances, and finding no convenient 
place to encamp, (the whole country being flooded,) it was not 
until ten P. M., that we reached a short prairie, twelve miles 
upon our route, where wet and hungry, with the rain pouring 
down in torrents, we found that the disabled wagons (which 
we were obliged to leave in the swamp until they could be 
repaired,) contained our camp baggage and rations, so that 
we were obliged to resign ourselves to a supperless bed, upon 
the wet grass, until the morning, thus making my initiation 
into camp life, rather laborious and exciting, but far from 



An incident during our march, amused and cheered me 

very much. 

"Whilst riding along by the train, my ears were startled 

by an old famiUar air, and I found the amateur was one of 

our ox drivers. He was carolling a moonlight love ditty, 

whilst wading mid leg in mud. Seniiment under difficulties ; 

I knew not which to admire most, the song, or the happy 
spirits of the singer ; he seemed to admire, and feel quite 
satisfied with both, judging from the hearty will with which 
he appealed to moonlight, music,, love and flowers. Snreiy^ a 



poetical ox driver is an anomaly for a more nnpoetical 


occupation cannot be imagined. 

June 2d. — Towards morning, the storm subsided, but when 


day dawned, four horses and one yoke of oxen were missing. 
I mounted my horse to search for them, having previously 
despatched a party to assist in getting np the wagons from 
the swamp. In the course of my ride, I met w^ith a very 


agreeable surprise at an Indian house by the roadside, where 
T stopped to make some inquiries. 

My attention had been arrested in passing this house, 
during the storm and darkness of the previous night, by a 
merry ringing laugh, and cheerful conversation. On stopping 
this morning, I was met by a kind and courteous welcome 
from one of the inmates, (whose voice I recognized as the 
same,) who hearing my story, invited me to breakfast, and 
made me quite forget my cares, in the charm of her society. 
A prairie flower, brought up and educated upon the frontier, 
she had never been in a town of any size in her life, but 
though ignorant of the world, and forms of society, I found 
her a proud specimen of native grace, intelligence, and 
affability. A Cherokee, she owed her improvement in mind, 
to the excellent institution founded by Ross, at Tuhiqua, her 
manners, however, were the result of no convention, but the 
gift of birth and blood. The daughter of a distingnif?hed 
chief of her tribe, her soul was full of the ancient nobility of 
her race, whilst filled with indignation at their wrongs and 
present dogrfidation, nml her eye kindled, and her tongue 


became eloquent whilst dwelling upon tlicir ancient grandeur, 
I was charmed beyond measure, .surprised to a degree, for 
with a majority, I had hitherto considered Indian worth and 
character, a matter of tradition ; it was like sunset upon a 
ruin, or like the last strains of distant melody, which linger 

upon the ear as if loathe to leave. Subsequent experience has 
proven to me, however, that she was but one in a thousand, — 
the death knell of Indian greatness has sounded, and ere long 
he will have vanished forever from the scene. 

The wagons coming up I was obliged to leave, when she 
proposed to accompany me a short distance, as she wished to 
visit a sick person in the neighborhood. Taking down an 

excellent double barrelled gun, and equipping herself regu- 
larly for hunting, with powder and shot flasks, garaebag, ttc, 
she smiled at my surprised look, and remarked, "I hope to 
have the opportunity to show you lean use them;" and so 
she did, as a squirrel and two quails were the result of her 
unerring aim and steady nerves, in the short space, — half a 
mile, — that she accompanied me. "With this double battery 
of eyes and arms, wo betide a susceptible bachelor, so thought 


I, but in my case it was Vlysses and Cahjjiso, so bidding 
adieu to my quondam syren, I galloped off to the unromantic 


drudgery of the camp. Arriving there, I found the missing 
oxen and horses had been brought in, and all hands busy 
in preparing a hearty meal, after which tents were pitched, 

and we spent a comfortable night. 

The prairie, on which we were encamped, was al>out 



three miles wide, destitute of trees, but covered with rich 

grass, and beautiful flowcrSj among which the prairie piak, 


shone conspicuous, also a species of blue flajj, very delicate, 


I made some selections of botk The soil was a dark loam. 






Arrive atthe Agency.— Eaw againt-t introduction of ^vliiskeyumorgllielnclians. — 
Ball play.— Profanity nmong teamsters.—Ucpcription of an InJian family and 
hut— Accident to wagon.— Mt-e ting of friends.— Pass the narrows.— Eituminoua 
coal found.^-EnMgrants grave.— Nij^lit in an Indian but.— Tbe pub-Cliicf and 
his peculiarities.— Arrival at the Fouclie Maliaut.— Arrival at the Council- 
House.— Singiilur pottery found.— Description of prairie scenery.— Plies trou- 
blesome — Mutiny among teamsters.— Detention of train.— Description of tbe 
Indian in his home. 

June 3rd,— A start at noon to tlay, brought us to the Choc- 
taw Agency at five P.M., where we witnessed — accidentally 

a painful; though necessary execution of the laws of the 
United States, against the introduction of whiskey among the 
Indians. The penalty is severe, viz., fine, imprisonment, 
confiscation of the whiskey, and in case of negroes, flogging, 
at the discretion of the authorities. AVe had previously seen 
two negroes chained together by the neck, and driven along 
the road, by several men ; these proved to be the offenders, 
the one a freeman, the other a slave. It is optional with the 
owner, to allow the slave to be whipped or not, (the alternative 


being expulsion from tlie nation^) and in this instance he 
declined, but the free negro was undergoing the infliction of 
sistj lashes, laid on with an unmerciful hand, and to judge by 
his groans and cries, the punishment was full expiation for the 

This law has had a very good effect, and enUsting as it does 


the pride and energies of tlie Indians themselvcSj it creates a 


spirit of emulatioii among them, in this way, viz., a police 
force is organized, calkd the Light Horse, under pay from 
the general government. Their duty is a general one, but 
particularly to seize and destroy all liquor introduced upon 

the reserve either for sale or private use. To be Captain of 
the Liglit Ilorse is a post of great honor, and is a source of 
much rivalry among the young men of the nation, thus 
thoroughly identifying them with this praiseworthy effort to 
remove a scourge from the red man, more terrible in its 
consequences to him than death. The same law is enforced, 
in regard to all Indians within the boundaries of the States 
and Territories, and though often evaded has had an infinite 
salutary effect in reducing crime and distress among them. 

The little town of Scullyville, where the agency is located, 
is a collection of log tenements, principally stores, where a 
large Indian trade is done. It stands about a mile from an 
extensive prairie, the road to which, like that from our late 
encampment, ran over a succession of hills of sand and clay 


covered with low post oaks. 

Upon entering upon the prairie, we observed in the 
distance a crowd of natives in gay clothing, the brilliant 
colours blending with the verdure, and making at sunset a 
truly picturesque scene. Riding up, we witnessed a scene 
never to be forgotten. It was a ball-play. Described, as 
this sport has been, by the able pencil of Catlin, description 
falls far short of reality. About six hundred men, women 



and children, were assembled, all dressed in holiday costume, 
and all as intent upon the game as it is possible to be where 
both pleasure and interest combine. The interest, is one tribe 
against another, or one county of the same tribe, against a 
neighboring county; the pleasure, that which savages always 
take in every manly and athletic sport. In' this instance the 

contestants were all Choctaws, practising for their annual 
game with the Creeks, and I was struck with the interest 
taken by all the lookers on, in the proficiency of each of the 
players. About sixty on each side were engaged in this 


exciting play, than which no exercise can be more violent 
nor better calculated to develope muscle and harden the 
frame. Each player provides himself with what are called 
ball-sticks. They are in shape like a large spoon, made of a 
piece of hickory about three feet long, shaved thin for about 
nine inches at the end forming the spoon, then bent round 
until brought into shape, the end securely fastened to the 
handle by buckskin thongs, the under side or bottom of the 
spoon covered with a coarse net work of the same material. 
He has one in each hand, and the ball — about the size of a 
large marble, is held between the spoons and thrown with an 
overhand rotary motion, separating the spoons, when the top 

of the circle is reached. 

The game is this — Two poles are set upj each about seven- 
teen feet high and a foot apart at the bottom, widening to 
three feet at top. At the distance of two hundred yards, two 
similar poles are set up facing these. To strike the poles, or 


throw the ball between them counts one, and twelve is game. 
An umpire and starter takes the ball, advances to a mark 
equi-distant from each end of the course, and throws it ver- 
tically into the air; it is caught, or falling upon the ground 
is eagerly struggled for and thrown toward the desired point. 
We saw some throw the ball the whole distance. 

At each brace of poles, judges are stationed, who, armed 
with pistols, keep close watch, and whenever a count is made 
fire their pistols. The ball is then taken and started anew, v 

Among the players, are the runners, the throwers, and 
those who throw themselves in the way and baffle the 
player who succeeds in getting the ball. 

The runners are the light active men, the throwers heavier, 
and then the fat men, who can neither throw nor run, stand 
ready to seize a thrower or upset a runner. 

When a runner gets the ball, he starts at full speed towards the 
poles ; if intercepted, he throws the ball to a friend, a thrower, 
perhaps, lie is knocked down, then begins the strugole for the 
ball; a scene of pushing, jostling, and striking with the ball 
sticks, or perliaps a wrestle or two, all attended with hard 


knocks and harder falls. Whilst looking on, one man was 
pitched upon his head and had his collar bone broken ; 


another, had part of his scalp knocked off, but it was all taken 
in good humour, and what, among white men, would inevitably 
lead to black eyes and bloody noses, here ended with the 
passage or possession of the ball, a good lesson in forbearance 
and amiability, worthy of imitation. 


The combatants are stripped entirely naked except a Lrcccli 
cloth ^nd moccasins, and gaudily painted; they fasten at the 
centre and small of the back, a horse's tail, gaily painted and 
arrayed like a tail that has been knickcd by a jockey ; some 
wore boncpiets of flowers instead of the tail, but these were 


evidently the exquisites of the party, which the rings worn 
in the ears, nose and under lips, and manner of arranging the 
hair — One having it cut to a point and drawn down over his 
right eye, whilst his left eye was painted green— clearly proved. 
The grotesque appearance of the players, the excitement, yells 
and shouts of the crowd, old and young, and the gaudy finery 
displayed, all combined to make an indelible impression upon 
our memories. The aged men of the tribe were the most noisy 
and excited. One old fellow, blind of an eye and seventy 
years old, was quite wild with excitement ; shaking his red 
handkerchief, he continued to shout, hoo, ka, li — hoo, ka, li- 
catch, catch, when the ball was thrown, and chi, ca, ma, 
good, when a count was made, until quite hoarse. Doubtless, 
like the old war horse at the sound of the bugle, he felt all the 
fire of his youth, as he entered into the full spirit of this truly 
and only Indian sport. 
"With reluctance we were obliged to leave for our quiet 


camp in the same prairie, and until nightfall, could hear tlic 
yells and laughter of the retiring crowd. 

June 4th. This (the first extensive prairie we had met) was 
about seven miles wide, surrounded by timber, and covered 
with flowers, among which the marigold and clematis were 



profuse; tlie soil ^^as quite sanely. At dawn of day wg 
were agaia " en route." It was a beautiful sight in tlKi dim 
light and bracing air of morning, to see the long line of 
white covered wagons rolling quietly over the slopes of the 
'prairie; the lowing of the oxen, the snorting of the horses, 
the shouts and cracliing of whips by the drivers/with all the 
bustle of breaking up camp made up an enlivening scene, 
which must be experienced to be enjoyed. (Tne thing however 
marred its enjoyment to me, and that was the awful profanity 
of the drivers. I have often since had occasion to comment 
Upon and reprove this among this class of men, but never has 
it struck me as so ill-timed and unnatural as when indulged in, 
iu the midst of natural beauties, which might fire a dying 
hermit; under such circumstances — blasphemy (a practice 
senseless, sinful and unnecessary) is like a volcano, dcvas- 
taling the fair fields, and sunny vineyards, of Italian climes, 
harrowing to the soul, revolting to nature. 

Being quite unwell — the result of the severe exposure of 
the last few days, I stopped in the course of the morning at 
an Indian hut to get some coffee, and had an opportunity to 
make some observations upon the indolence, carelessness, want 
of calculation and slovenly habits of this semibarbarous 
people. The man had built his hut, which was new, about 
half as large as was necessary fo accommodate his family, 
consisting of five adults and four chiWren, and even this he 
was too indolent to finish. It had but one room, built of logs, 
roofed with a mde clap board, split from sapling oak. The 


floor was laid in pimcheons^ogs hewn on cne side. He liad 
hewed enough to covcr'all but a four feet square hole in the 
centre, tlilb was left open, and being convenient, was used as 
a receptacle for offal and a lounging place for dogs, of which 
I subsequently ascertained there arc always a host about 


every Indian house. One can judge of the atmosphere of 


such a place. — Ilere they ate, drank and slept, and as 
philosophers say that man's comfort consists in his idea of 
what constitutes comfort, managed to live. 

One of the squaws made coffee in an iron skillet, stirring it 


with an oaken paddle ; when poured out it was of the consi?^- 
tency of corn gruel, but having called for it, I gulped it down 
for fear of giving offence, and paying my dime took my depar- 
ture ; my opinion, however^ formed at the time, I have had no 
occasion to change from subsequent observations among them. 
Our road, after leaving the prairie, ran over a succession of 
rough stony hills, covered with low oak trees. In descenduig 
one, the foremost w^agoa was disabled by the breaking of ixn ^ 
axle-tree, and as the road was too narrow to pass, we were 


obliged to look out for camping ground, where there was 
water and grass to last until the damage could be repaired. 


These we found a quarter of a mile in advance, in a 
swamp, on the banks of the Brazil ; so unhitching our oxen 
and unsaddling horses, we prepared to encamp. Shortly 
after a severe rain storm set in, so that with wet, gnats 
and mosquitoes, &c., the evening promised to be anything 
but pleasant, when just as we began to feel very melan- 




choly, I thought I heard a familiar voice, and going to the 
door of the tent, who should I meet but my old friend S* 

II s, whom I had not seen for sixteen years. He was 

on his way to Fort Washita, and having beeTi throwii froiA 
his horse in the prairie — the horse escaping^iad.made hJs 
way on foot to our camp — stangc coincidences happen fu \U'^, 


but this was a joyful one for he and I, that after so Vaauf 
years and changes in fortune, we should meet by accident \h 
this Wild Indian country, to fight over our battles by the camp 
fire's light. Had he dropped from the 'clouds, I could not 


have been more surprised, certainly not more delighted, and 
in spite of rain and insects, we spent a lively evening. We 
supplied him with a horse, and he remained with us several 

flajs. ■ . . : i 

June 5th. — Repairs to the broken wagon detained us until 
a late hour this morning. We got off at ten, a. Si., and 
crossing the swollen Brazil, passed through several short 
^ prairies variegated with the wild sun-flower, marygold and 
wild-rose. A few hours brought us to the Narrows, where 
the road ran tlirough a rugged mountain gorge, very difficult 
for wagons. ' The locality is interesting from its geological 
formation. We found a vein of bituminous coal" seventeen 
inches thick, and numerous fossils of limestone, the soil beincr 


argillaceous. Near the road, we passed an emigrant's grave, 
covered with a pent house of logs, and marked by the tail- 
board of a wagon, nailed upon a stake, upon which was rudely 
written with tar, '< George Bemshaus, born in Prussia, October 


■13th, 1812 ; died, March 2d, 1854." Poor fellow ! all his horos 

of home and fortune in the land of freedom, lay here on a 
barren hill-side in this wild Indian country, — such is life, a 

vision, a struggle, a grave. 

Before leaving Fort Smith, the Captain had taken the 
precaution to procure some corn, to feed our oxen until they 
became accustomed to such hard work, instead of depending 
entirely upon grass diet. This supply was now exhausted, 

and H s and myself started in advance to procure more. 

Stopping at a noted place — Tushcounti's — we were told we 
could purchase some three miles farther on — we found — and 
I have since constantly observed — that these people have no . 
idea of distance. When one gets information of this kind 
from them, it is best to multiply by two and add the original 
quantity, even then sometimes— as in our case— falling short 
of the fact. We rode twelve miles and then stopped for the 


night at an Indian hut. As we had eaten nothing since 
morning, we asked if we could have eggs and chickens for' 
supper, having seen 'plenty of the feathered bipeds about, and 
were answered in the affirmative. With appetites sharpened 
by our exercise and long fast, we came to supper and found 
the eggs served up on the only piece of family plate, 'tis true, 
a glass dish, but fried in talhtc, the chickens fried in the same, 
and a dish of sausages, made of the intestines of the hog, dried 
in the sun, a meal which a man might eat when in imminent 
danofer of starvation, but which our day's fast had not quite 


toned our appetites to. We took a cup of cofree--^the only 






thing swalJoicahle, and went to the door to smoke and look 
^t the moon, the o'dour of the viands being quite sufficient. 
Nest, came our accommodations for the night. The hut had 
no -windows in it, but to avoid stumbling over the living", 
snoring crew upon the floor, a pine knot blazed upon the 
hearth, and here, stowed in one corner, lay the Indian, his 
stiuaw, his daughter about nineteen years old, two young 


papooses, a negro slave -with an infant at the breast, and two 
doffS, whilst on a kind of shelf, raised about two feet from the 
floor, were perched the writer and his friend, with our saddles 
for pillows, and our horse blankets for covering, for this privi- 
lege we paid two dollars, 

June 6th, — When mornirjg dawned, we wished to make onr 

usual ablutions, but found that basin and towels, were not 

-known in the domestic list ; however the squaw oflered us an 

old bake pan and a piece of cotton cloth, which she pulled off 

of a bundle iu the hut, we declined the novelty^ and preferred 

*Tn this countryj p.nd aU "through the Eouth and "West, prices are much 


lijgher-than in the East, and from "svhat seems to me, to he an unfair causoi 
viz., the emanest general currency, is the dimo, hut \vhere fire and three cent 


pieces are used, they are taken each to he of the value of the other; now I 
notice^ in a town in Arkansas, whiere a shrewd feUow took advantage of this, 5n 
this -vvay : — In making change he woultl he Bure to give three cent pieces where 
fives were due, and take Sves where he was entitled to hut threes; then, when 

visiting New Orleans, to make pnrchsse of goods, he TTonld huy up three cent 
pieces to use in the same way. To he sure, it was hut a small hu-sineaB, hut 
turned out a large per centage in proportion. 

Cents are never seen, and thus, though you get nothing bettor for your 
money, you pay just this proportionate advance for it. Whether this arises 
from the greater iihundance of money, or the enlari^ed views of the population, 
I Teavi^ f »r those to judge who are better ahle than myself. 

-fr * 

TDE SUE-CniEF. 27 

contenting ourselves until we joined tlie train. It was neces- 

H t 

sary to hare some breakfast, however ; so taking the experience 

of the sujiper for our guide, we superinteuded the boiling of 

some eggs in the shells, and with some corn dodgers and cofiFee 

made out very well. 

Much to our surprise and satisfaction, our quondam host, 


"who etijoyed the high-sonnding name of George Washington, 
stirred himself this morning and procured from a neighbor 
what corn we wanted, so we waited here until the train came 
up. This neighbor called over to sec us, and afforded us 
much amusement. He was a sub-chief of his tribe, and was 
indulging in one of his periodical debauches. ** I am a first 
rate fellow but I must have whiokey," said he; " liow often do 
you get drunk T said I. He replied, " once every three 
months." " IIow long does it last T Ans, " About two months." 
" Well then, you are drunk more than half the time ?" Ans. 
*' Oh yes, nearly all the time, but then tlie old woman, she 
keeps things in order." So it is with the victim of self-indul- 
gence, in savage, as well as civilized life, iJie old woman, is 
left to keep things in order. 

Happening to mention i)i^ ball-play, he fired up at once, as 
it turned out he was quite a sporting man, and was in the 
habit of betting heavily upon the result of these contests, (at 
which, by the way, large sums of money, also horses and mules, 
change hands,) and of course was w^ell booked up. "Them 
ScuUyville fellows can't come it over our county," said he, 
* We can just take and lam them out of their boots." Ha, 



ha, the Bowery among the Indians, -we both laughed heartily 


at the idea, and were not a little surprised to find he had 
never been off the Reserve in his life, so that slang- seems to 
be a native gift. After a few more swigs at his friend's jug, 
the sub-chief retired to the bushes, if not great like kings, 
" still quite as glorious, o'er all the ills of life victorious," and, 
, judging by his sonorous snoring, would soon be prepared for a 

new attack upon the enemy. 

Soon after the sub-chiers departure, the train came up, 
when we joined and crossed the Fouche Maliant, a stream 
which empties into Red Elver, remembered as the vicinity 
where a horrid murder was committed during the march of 
- the escort to the expedition to New Mexico, in 1849. This 
murder, illustrating, as it does, the demoniac spirit of the * 
Indian when actuated by revenge, is worthy of note. 
The circumstances are these, and show clearly that Lex 

TaUonis is de facto the only law recognized by the In- 
dian. , 

One of the soldiers, attached to the escort, killed a Log 
belonging to a family in the neighborhood, at which they were 
greatly enraged. When the officer in command, the lamented 

H n, was informed of the matter, he returned and paid 

an exorbitant price for the animal. This seemed satisfaetui 
but on the following morning, two of the party were found 
murdered with tomahawks. The supposition is," that emis- 
saries were sent out (in revenge,) and sufficient time did not 
allow of their recal after the hog was paid for. 




The young officer mentioned, after^-anls met Tvith a 
tragical end, from ' Lis misplaced confidence in the Indians 

in New Mexico. 

A man of extraordinary amiability and goodness of heart, 
lie had often expressed his conyiction that the Indian only 


wanted a display of coniidence reposed in him by the white 
man to cause him to fraternize. Fatal mistake I and one that 
cost him his life. Some months after the event recorded 
above, he left camp, and not returning at the time expected, 


search was made for him, when his dead Body was found, 

scalped and stripped. 

Everything indicated that he had endeavoured to carry out 
his favourite theory, the commanding officer of the expedition 
having made a thorough examination of the ground where 


the murder was committed, with the aid of his Indian guide, 
(the results of which are given in the note appended,*) and 
followed the murderers forty miles, when, owing to the disabled 
/.^r./t;+;rtT^ /^f tiic! VArcpa nnrl Tmilps. hft was oblio-ed to return. 

* The sagacity of the DclaTrare guide is shown in the minute details of hifl 
report of this investigation. The result is as foUowa : 

This murder was committee! by two men. They had two mule« tnd one horse 
with them. They came down upon* their victim at fuH gaUop, hut finding that 
he was not disposed to fly, but on the contrary walked his horse towards them, 
they al^o puUed up to a walk. The parties met and rode a short distance 
to-ether, then dismounted, and seating themseWes on the grass, smoked 
together. Here they got possession of hU rifle, on pretence, ad supposed, of 
examining it. Aa this was the oaly weapon he had with him, they theBOVM^ 
powered, ti^ him, and placing him upon his horse, led the horse between them 
into some Umber, skirting a ravine, where one fiaUing behind, aliot him in the 
!.-.», ^p ?,;= Tino.i *>,A hftii fn-nnri in fhft hmin. indieAtiniT that the deed VFat 



Subsef[ncnt experience has proved to me that the invarl- 
able rules for safety, that should be followed by single indivi- 
duals or small parties^ when away from camp, and meeting 
parties of Indians, is to give them a wide berth, and for this 
reason — if sheer plunder is not the object of attack, according 
to their custom, young men cannot hold any position in their 
tribe, until they can show a scalp, and have stolen a number 
of horses. In consequence of this, two or three will start | 
together, and sometimes be absent for a year, until they can 
return with these evidences of their manliness. ' 

The best plan is either to make the escape to camp, or else 
preserving a bold front, take care to have the first shot. 

Had young H n observed these directions, so often 

impressed upon him by his experienced commanding officer, he 
might now be living, an ornament to the service, to which ho 
was a great loss, as he was mounted upon a horse remarkable 
for fleetness, and was a crack shot with the rifle, 


A few miles travel brought us to the deserted Council 

J w 

House of the nation, at the time occupied by an Indian 

mitted with his own rifle. Hastily strippiug him, they scalped him, throw hia 
body into a rayine, aod taking everything hut one hoot and his saddle, made 
their escape. Some miles farther they halted, and lighting a fire, bad prcparod 
Bome meat for cooking, as the raw iiient waa fi)und spitted and the fire emou', 
dering. They left here very hastily, aa a pair of moccasins, a lariat, and somo ■ 
other articles were dropped in their hurry, occasioned doubtless by hearing the 
report of the howitzer which was ^ed from camp at sun-down as a guide 
to the miiding officer. 

Minute as theae details are, they are true, as the mvvrdorers are known, and 
wUl sooner or later be brought to justice. AU the Indian had to direct him 
waa the signs in the grass, &c. 


family, the place of assembling in Council having been 
changed to Doaxville, farther south. 

It was a long, rambling building, built of logs, and not 
different, except in size, from their ordinary houses. Here I 
dug up a singular piece of pottery, of an antique form, and 
covered with various devices, but was unable to get any infor- 
mation about it from the fomily. They said they had never 
seen anything like it before, and did not tnow how it came 

there. Its shape and whole appearance proved it to be very 

Our road from the stream was gradually ascending, and 
bounded on both sides by timber, when of a sudden we 
reached the top of the ridge and had a view of the largest 
prairie we had yet met. O, the glorious beauty of that scene. 
Fancy would in vain attempt to paint it ! Below, stretching 
for twenty-five miles in length, and twelve in breadth, lay a sea 
of pale green, hemmed in by timber of a darker hue ; flowers of 
every variety, shade and form, interspersed over the surface; 


a dark green belt of verdure here and there, marking the 
ravines and water^courses, and groves of trees, or clumps, or 
single trees, scattered in such perfect arrangement over the 
whole, as to seem as though some eminent artist had perfected 


the work. AtxA truly so he did, for what artist can compare 
with the God who formed and arranged all these natural 
beauties now spread before us ! 

TliO view, fully realized descriptions of the parks of the 
English nobility and gentry, wanting only the presence of 



animal life. Its effect upon us is best illustrated by tlie 

following incident. 


Our whole command stopped iuvoluiitarily, in mute admira- 
tion ; at last, one poor fellow, a rougli, uncouth Specimen of an 
ox driver burst, out, ** Oh, if I was only a lawyer^ how I could 

talk about such a sight as this, but I havn't the larnin to say 
what I want." Now, whether there is anything peculiar in 
the legal profession, which gives a higlicr zest to enjoyment 
of the beautiful in nature, I confess I do not know, of one 


thing I am certain, that lawyer or doctor, saint or sinner, any 

man who could gaze upon and not admire a scene hke this, 

must be wanting in the very elements of the division between 
the human and animal. 

As every pleasure has its pain, every joy its sorrow, our 
feelings of admiration for the scenery, were soon merged into 
those of pity, for our horses, mules and oxen. 

The great drawback to pleasure, at this season, on the 
prairie, is the immense number of insects. Among these, is a 
large, greenish brown horse fly, the most inveterate blood 
sucker of the genus. So ravenous are they, that, after settling 

down to their bloody work, they will allow themselves to be 
picked up in the fingers, making no effort to escape. At every 
stroke of their bills, the blood flows as if from a lancet, and 
they come in such myriads, that I have seen a horse bathed 
in his own blood. An idea prevails, that they will attack a 
white horse, or mule, sooner than any other color^ but this 
I think erroneous, and doubtless arises from the fact that the 


ijiurks of blood, are more visible upon the white hair, also 
white animals, are generally thinner skinned, and consequently 
more sensitive. 

It has often been a matter of reflection to me, why this 
torment should have been inflicted upon dumb brutes. My 
conclusion is, that it is intended for man, as an exercise of his 

As we passed only along the edge of the prairie, we were 
soon through safely, though we had a busy time fighting the 
tormentors, and entering a shady road, had proceeded but a 
short distance before we were stopped by the sudden 
announcement of five of our teamsters, that they would gouo 
farther. These men, living a precarious but indolent life, upon 
the frontier of Arkansas, had joined the expedition with 

very romantic ideas, but the realities and discipline of camp 
life had cured them, and go any farther they would not; but 
leaving us upon the hill side, they turned their faces towards 
their accustomed lounging places, and were gone. We made 
out to work along a few miles, by all turning in as teamsters, 
and reaching a large farm, occupied by an old Indian, halted 
until we could hire more help — a change which we often after- 
wards congratulated ourselves upon. 

The evening set in with a violent rain storm; so, to be as 
comfortable as possible during our detention, we took posses- 
sion of an untenanted house on the premises, and building a 
fire in the hearth (for it was quite cold), we spread our blan- 
kets upon the flour and resigned ourselves to sleep, after a 



very good meal of railk, eggs, cliickens, &c., which we pro- 
cured from the farm house. 

Though annoyed at this unexpected detention^ by which we 
lost three days' travel, we M'cre enahled during our stay to 
observe the Indian in his home, and to form our own opinions 


of his enterprize and moral worth, — an opportunity 1 had long 

wished for. 

At an Indian house w^e passed to-day, I observed some little 
negroes, from two years old and under. They were nabed^ and 

were most singular and unsightly objects, from the distortion 

and protuberance of the stomach and abdomen. This is 

attributable to their being fed entirely on corn bread, causing 

enlargement of the spleen and other distresses. On speaking 

of this circumstance to the owner, he said, " Well, may be so 

dey live, may be not ;" a matter of indifference to him, whose 
own stomach seemed well fed and healthy enough, but upon 

whom the natural consequences of cause and effect made no 

June Tth, 8th and 0th. — Our quondam host was a full-blooded 
Choctaw. He served in the Creek war with General Jackson, 
and like all of his tribe, was very proud of the fact that they 
have always been allies of the United States. Ilis wealth in 
cattle and horses, besides money (which was all hoarded, 
never, as is a general thing with Indians, put out at interest), 
was said to be over one hundred thousand dollars, and yet he 
was living not only in a filthy but most uncomfortable and 
disgusting manner, fond of nothing but gold and silver, which 


when we paid him the few dollar? of expense incurred, he 
clutched with all the gloating of a miser, and shook with 
tremulous delight as he told them one hj one into his greasy 
ba<3:. We wanted some corn for our animals durino; our stav, 
and when asked for it, he denied having any to spare at first. 
This proved to be a " ruse'^ to raise the price, for as the mar- 


ket price was one dollar per bushel, so soon as we expressed 
our willingness to give one dollar and a half, he shrugged his 
shoulders, and very quietly said, " Well, as' blackberry come 
soon- — may be so — you camhave him," at the same time point- 
ing the way to two well filled cribs. 

The use of these berries is au evidence of the improvidence 
of the Indian, as T am told a large number depend upon them 
in a great measure ; in fact, I heard one sturdy chap say, 
" Well, I got corn till blackberry come, then may be so corn 

be d d;" and in conversation with our host, ha said that 

the corn in the neighborhood was almost entirely consumed, 
and the present season promised badly, but ' may be so dey 
git some blackberry, may be not." This was said with an 
indifferent shrug, as if the prospect or the reality of starvation 


around him was a matter of no consequence. 


Many visitors came to the farm during our stay. All, of 
course, visited our quarters, and sat or stood around in that 
quiet manner peculiar to the Indian, and which, I think, con- 
ceals a great deal of curiosity, of which they are supposed to 
be guiltless. One, a fine looking youth, gaily dressed and 
painted, with his hair cut " a la roundhead," had a good deal 


to say, in his broken way. I asked him his name ; he said 

a n 

George." "Well, George ^vhat?" I asked. "Why, George, 
may be so George be good name 'noiigh ;" and this was all the 
satisfaction I got for my inquiry. 

Some of the visitors got up a dance one evening. There* 
were sis dancers — three squaws and three men. The music 
was a droning discordance of sounds, drawn from an old 
cracked fiddle by the husband of one of the squaws, and the 
dance consisted in a monotonous bobbing up and down" like a 
bear on a hot plate, accompanied by yells, which grew louder 


as the night waxed older, and the whiskey began to take 
effect, so that long after we had retired to our blankets, we 
were roused when a louder yell than usual pealed out, or a 
heavier stamping announced that the orgie was becomin 
more fast and furious. 

We met with, and in use, at this place, some vessels of the 
same material and ancient shape, as the one I had previously 
dug up at the deserted Council House. Our host told us 
they were made of an admixture of clay and pounded muscle 
shells, but the art of making them was lost. They will stand 

the fire and would answer for crucibles as well as cookino- 

It rained heavily at iatervals clnring our stay, and one 
evening, during a heavy shower, I went to the door of our 
quarters and observed_a large fire burning near some out- 
buildings. On inquiry J learned it was the old man's hicouac. 
Being curious to investigate the matter further, we went over, 



despite the rain, and found this ohl creature, seventy years old, 
and suffering "with the liver complaint, stretched near the fire, 
upon a bundle of skins and old blanket?, with no shelter but 
the overhanging eaves. It had been his habit from infancy to 
sleep in the open air, and he said he could not sleep in a house. 
The doctor offered him medical aid for his complaint, but he 
. declined, being either too stingy or too supei-stitious to avail 
himself of it. He said, '*Xo, no — our man he do dat — he 

good'nough;" meaning their medicine man, to whom they 
still adhere. 

One morning we heard a great commotion in the stockyard, 
and going over, found that some young colts were to be branded. 
We witnessed the process done in true Indian style, the ani- 
mal being first lassoed and choked until powerless, then 
thrown, the branding iron applied, and an inch of the tail cut 
off, to make it lighter and more under control of the colt to 
brush off insects. It is then liberated, frightened half to 
death, and, I have no doubt, injured by the brutal manner in 
which it has been handled,' 

They pursued this process of branding with all their stock 
except their hogs. The hogs roamed in the woods, and lived 
ou Mast,* or starved to death if that failed ; no care was 

taken to improve the breed, and those met with, were a long- 
nosed, long-legged, slab-sided species, black in color, and 

evidently descendants of the wild hog, or peccary. This old 
man had about one thousand head in his range, and scenu d 

* Must is the pnt of tbp o»k and bpnrh tr^ts, 



to tbink lie would be able to save enougli to last him in his 
family, as hog and hominy was their only diet. 

Of cattle and horses, the old man had a large herd, in fact, 
he told me he did not know the number, but "sometime 'de 
boy he count 'em." The calves were all kept in an enclosure, 
and thus the cows were induced to return from pasture, when 
enough milk was taken for butter, &c., the rest allowed to thf> 
calves. I could not help but think what a handsome account 
one of our New England farmers would turn such a dairy to. 

An incident occurred during the branding, which affected 
me very much, and which I will now relate : 

When all the large colts had .been branded, a beautiful 
milk-white filly, four years old, with a colt six weeks old, at 


her foot, was driven up. At first she made every effort to 
escape, guarding the colt at the same time, but soon the colt 
was lassoed and thrown, instantly, she stopped, and standing 
the very picture of agony, with glaring eyeballs and distended 
nostrils, trembling in eveiy limb and muscle of her frame, and 
the sweat running off her in a stream, uttering all the time a 
low, whining ^moan, presented a picture of distress, which, in 
a dumb brute, was as affecting as it was extraordinary. As 
soon as the colt was liberated, she sprang forward, and 
caressing it with all the affection of a mother, bounded off 
into the woods, taking care to keep it in front and in sight of 


her; truly, thought I, if any thing could create a belief in 
Metempsychosis, it would be sights like this. 

ilost of the Choctaws hold slaves, but mv observations. 


both hero aad elsewhere, have convinced me that the general 
government would subserve the cause of humanity by pro- 
hibiting any Indians from holding them; they look upon them 
as mere beasts of burden, and treat them accordingly. 

At this place there were two slaves ; one an old woman of 
seventy years of age, and lame with inflammatory rheumatism, 
the other a child of eight years old, who were compelled to do 
all the hard work about the farm. We saw the old woman 
sent out to catch and saddle a horse, and the boy, with no 
clothing on but a coarse, ragged, filthy tow shirt, chopping 
logs of wood, and then shouldering and carrying into the 
house, a log larger than himself. 

Our sympathies "were very much excited, and on remonstra- 
ting with the old man, and telling him that the boy would 
be strained and injured for sale, he merely shrugged his 
shoulders, and replied, " He strong 'nough, me work hard 
when me boy, me seventy year old, me strong yet." 

One of the party gave the little fellow an old shirt, which 


he donned immediately, half wild with delight, and strutted 
off to show his prize, but he soon came back in tears, with 
the shirt hanging in ribbons about him, his unusual appear- 
ance having excited the anger of the big bull of the herd, and 
in making his escape, he lost the most of his finery in the 

Another of our party offered to buy the boy, but the 
avaricious old wretch, immediately put up his price beyond 
his means, and upon being told that his pri^e was unreason- 



able, merely repliea, " He good boy, may be so, somebody 


give if for him, may be uot," 

iBstances raigM be multiplieil of great barbarities prac- 
tised ; one, is that of an Indian in this nation, standing and 
enjoying the pastime of his half-grown boy, which consisted 
in practising with bow and arrows, at a negro boy, as a 
target. Another, ordered a slave to shoot a man against 
whom he had a grievance, and upon refusal, whipped the 
slave to death. These arc not isolated cases, but good 
specimens of their ^estimation of, and general treatment of 
slaves, and would seem to prove conclusively, that the Indian 
needs a master, as much, if not more, than the slave* 

June 10th. — Having succeeded in filling the places of our 
shameless deserters, we left the old man and his ill-enjoyed 
wealth, at an early hour this morning, and commenced the 
ascent of a steep, stony hill, on the opposite side of. which 
slopes a prairie, extending down to Gaines' creek. 

Just before we left, an incident occurred, showhig the 


inherent laziness of the Indian. A stout, able-bodied man, 

equipped for hunting, and riding a beautiful white pony, 

came by, and stopped, in that peculiar quiet manner I have 
before remarked upon. 

One of our party, pleased with the pony, asked the price. 
He raised his hands three times, with all the fingers extended, 
as much as to say, thirty dollars; immediately the money 
was counted down, but he then declined seUing his pony, 
saying, it was too far for him to walk home. " How far r was 


tlie question. " Five mile," was his reply. Forty dollars 
were theu offered, but still/thougli it staggered liiiiia.good 
deal, he persisted in declining;, as rather than walk five miles, 
he would forego the opportunity of selling his pony at so 
greatly an increased rate. 

On reaching the creek, we found it too high to ford, and so 
encamped in a beautiful grove on the slope of the prairie, and 



a beautiful quiet evening we had, when the first clear moon 
for some nights, rose to hallow the peaceful scene below, the 
white tents, and the white covers of the wagons, peeping out 
from among the trees, the camp fires blazing, and the cattle 
feeding upon the green sward around us. We felt the 
soothing influence of the scene, after the rough times of the 
past week, and retired to our grassy couches with calmer 

thoughts for the morrow. 




Horse tjfeten by a snake. — Prairie flowers.— Oats met with.— White men married 
to equawj?,— I^w upon the sutuect. — FoPHila found.— Oual abundant.— Soil, 
Uuieatoae. — Army worm.— Severe storm.— Emigrants met with.— Arrive at the 
Bosgy — Cliocta\Y swamp.— ^Vild cattle.— Train stopped.— Start for tb^^ fort.— 
FliL'S troublesome.— Cross the Blue,— Arrive at Washita. 

June lltli. — We found this tnorning, that the best horse 
T^v'e had — a noble sorrel — had been struck by a snake in the 
night, and could go no farther. The muscles of his throat 


and fore-qnarters, were so swollen that he could not raise his 
head from the ground, so, reluctantly, we left him in charge 
of a Choctaw, living in the vicinity, with directions to bring 
him in to Fort Washita when he recovered. The doctor bled 
bini very freely in the mouth, and we made a muslin cover to 
screen him from the flies, and so left him to his fate. 

Instances of this kind are very frequent in this section of 
country. The reptile is a small mottled snake, called Ground 
Rattlesnake. This is a misnomer, as it has no rattles, and 
strikes without warning. It is a species of the Copperhead, 


its bite very venomous, and generally attended with fatal 

At ten A. M., (the water having subsided to a fordable 
depth,) we crossed tiaines' Creek, and passing through several 


beautiful prairies, rich in pasture, and covered with those 
beatitiful flowers which always deh^hted us so much, (and 
through which we always roamed, making our selections,) and 
which we always parted from with regret, we came to a much 
more cultivated region. What first attracted our attention 
was a field of oats, a grain we had hitherto not met with, as 
the Indians raise nothing but corn, '' Aha," said I, the "white 
man has had a hand in this," and so it proved to be the case. 
Several settlers from the States, who have married squaws, 
live here, the fact evidenced by the greater quantity of land 
cultivated, greater variety in the crops, the growth of 
vegetables, greater neatness about their building?^, and a 
general appearance of industry and thrift. 

According to Choctaw law, no white man can marry until 
he has resided two years in the nation. lie can then marry 
one of the tribe, and can fence iu and cultivate as much as he 
pleases. There are many instances in the nation, and where- 
ever met with, the difference from the native is very per- 
ceptible and striking. 

Having learned, by the experience of the past, the phle- 
botomizing powers of the prairie-fly, we stopped at the first 
convenient place, and spent the rest of the day in making up 
muslin covers for our horses and mules, and during the day 
made some very interesting explorations and discoveries 
among the fossiliferous strata in the vicinity. 

The soil is limestone, marked by the pellucid water and 
luxuriant vegetation. It yields, in ordinary seasons, forty 


■- J 

bushels of grain to the acre ; this season being unprccedcntly 
wet, the prospects were not so good. ■ 

Coal is found here in abundance, very bituminous, but used 


only by the few blacksmiths who live along the road. 

A curious spectacle presented itself this morning, on our 
road. The whole surface of the ground, for more than a mile, 
was covered with the arnnj xcorm, passing from one scene of 
devastation to another. They are about three inches loii"- 
white in colour, and lozenge shaped, travel slowly, but arc a 
great scourge to the farmer, destroying— when they come in 
such hosts— in a night the labours of the season. Nothing 
but fire, I understand, has been able to check their ravages, 
and it is said that by burning off a narrow strip around a crop, 
it can be saved, as they will not cross burnt ground. My own 
impressions are, that as the larvK are deposited by the insect 
after passing the chrysalis state, no means will be effectual, 
except they can be destroyed in the q^^^. This farmers North 
and East do, in case of the cutworm, by ploughing their land 
and subjecting it to the action of the weather. 

June 12tli.— At daylight we were on tlic road, and com- 
menced passing through a more broken, but still well culti- 
vated and nourishing country, as there is quite a settlement 
if distances of from ten fo fifteen miles can be called a settle- 
ment— of white men with squaw wives. An old Indian of 
some note also lived on this road. He was rich in cattle and 
horses, but, like his fellows, cultivated the soil to a very 
limited extent. We stopped for the night near a place where, 



on the twenty-eiglitli of May, a remarkable storm ragxd, 
destroying the crops and beating down timber. 

Passing iinobstrnctedly over so wide an extent, storms 
acquire terrific violence in this country, and leave indelible 

marks of their ravages- 
One of the settlers, an intelligent white man, had sixty acres 


of oats desti'oyed, and told us that hail was thick enough, in 
some places, to be. shovelled up. He said he measured some 
of the stones, and one was eight inches long and five in cir- 
CTimference, a fact which I believe, as I saw limbs of trees and 


their trunks skinned and battered as if by a discharge of ^rape 
shot. "We procured here a fine*hound to assist us in our 
catering Avhen we got on the plains. 

June 13th. — Our march to-day led us through an extensive 


prairie — covered as usual with a beautiful variety of flowers 
where we found encamped a large party of emigrants, waitiu 
for the subsidence of the waters of the Boggy, a stream more 
aptly named than pleasant to the traveller. They told us we 
• could not cross, but we determined to make the attempt. 

This stream ran through a bottom, which, in time of high 
freshet, was entirely submerged, leaving, as the water reced»^d, 


a road which, though called bottom, seemed to have that 
necessary ingredient in a passable road entirely fallen out, or 
at least to require the race of men and animals found by that 
veracious traveller, Lemuel Gulliver, in the interesting country 
of Brobdignag, to find firm footing for travel. 

A black, mucky deposit spread in width for two miles, and 




46 N 0X1:8 TAKEN. 

r F 

our hapless party went floundering and plunging on, some- 
times brought to a dead stand, anon sinking to the saddle 

b ■ 


girths, then plunging into a slough and wondering what was 
to come next, until bedaubed and bespattered, breathless and 
half suffocated, we emerged upon the banks of the stream, and 


cast an involuntary glance backwards to sec whether wc had 
not left part of ourselves or our horses behind us. 

With the loss of several horse and mule shoes, and the 


breaking of a swingle tree in the ambulance, we got through, 


and arriving on the banks of the stream found it too high to 
cross with our wagons, and so set about to repair damages. 

In course of the afternoon, we attempted to cross our horses 
over by swimming them, but on account of the bud landing on 
the opposite shore, were obliged to desist. 

Having crossed myself, in a dug-out,^ in anticipation of my 
horse, I came near having an unpleasant adventure, viz., a 
night alone in a Choctaw swamp. 

Fiuaing no likelihood of getting my horse, I started on foot 
for Boggy Depot— a collection of dwellings and stores about 


a mile from the stream— as the most comfortable place to 
spend the night. 

Indian-like, my guide gave me a direction, which, so fur 
from being direct, only made confusion worse confounded. 

♦ A " dns-onf is a canoe made out of a solid log, the heart dug out with a 
hatchet or adze, hence its name. Tlie more primitiTe way of making them was 
to burn them out, though there is no authority for .aying that in ronso-iueno, 
these were c^Ued *'burnt-outa-" 


The freshet had obliterated all marks of the road; but judg- 
ing, I suppose, my iustincts by his own, he pointed to a gap in 
the thicket, under a huge cottouwood, and gfuutiug out, "You 
not miss him," left me to. the tender mercies of gnats, mos- 
quitoes, snakes, "et genus omne," which are only to be found 
in such a delectable place as Bogg-y Eottom. 

I floundered on, every moment expecting to reach the wel- 
come haven, but every step made it worse, until just as I was 
about to give up in despair, I heard the roar of a mill-dam, 
and hurrying on, found that I had boxed the compa^ and 
come round to the place I started from. I was glad to ri- 
cross the stream and take up my quarters with the miller, 
where I found a blanket and a mff ptuicJun- to solace me after 

my unromantic ramble. 

My host was quite wild upon the subject of a diamond mine 
he had found upon his premises ; so after supper he produced 


his specimens, consisting of small quartz crystals imbedded io 
the harder rock, one of which he had extracted and fitted to' 
a stick, to show how well it would cut glass ; useless to him 
even for this, as glass for windows is unknown in this country, 


He looked blank when T told him the value of his prize, but 
to console him, I told him I would take some of the best 
specimens and have them well tested, giving him all the 
advantage that might result therefrom. I left him to his dia- 
mond dreams, and if there is pleasure in anticipation, I have 
no doubt this man thoroughly enjoys it. 




. Jnne 14th. — The banks of the stream presented a wild aud 
picturesque scene this morning. 

A high, steep bluff, on the opposite shore, was lined with 
over a thousand head of wild cattle, about to be dri\^n across, 
on their way to Missouri and Illinois. 

These cattle are herded on the vast plains of Texas, until 
about three or four years old ; they are then sold to men who 


follow the business, at from fifteen to eighteen dollars per 
head, driven to the prairies in 'the North-West, and there 
fattened for the Eastern market. They are very beautiful to 
look at, symmetrical in figure, with sinewy limbs, and very 
long, sharp-pointed horns. 

Quite wild, the business of driving them is an arduous and 
a dangerous one. They go quietly enough until something 
occurs to excite or frighten them, when a stampede will 
occur, and woe betide the hapless wight who becomes 
involved in it ; they become frantic, and bear down and crush 
every thing that stands in the way iu their furious career. 

The men who drive them, are a rough set, hardy and 
splendidly bold riders. I saw one catch his hat from the 
ground, when at full gallop, a feat which requires not only 
practice, but great muscle and dexterity. They ride a small 
horse, bred in Mexico, thick set and of great power of 

The stock-whip they use, is a most formidable weapon ; 
upon a short handle, about eighteen inches long, they fasten 
a plaited lash, from fifteen to eighteen feet in length, about 


an inch tliick at the thickest part, tapering down to a very 
long thin end. Long practice enables them to throw^this out, 
from its trail on the ground, with great accuracy and 
tremendo'us effect, cutting like a long flexible razor, and with 
a report like a pistol, drawing the blood at every blow. 

It was an exciting sight, to see the herd plunge off the 
high bank — about fifteen feet perpendicular hight — and swim 
across, nothing appearing above water, but their taper heads 


and long thin horns. The emigrants we had passed upon the 
prairie had also come down, determined to cross at all hazards. 
They had exhausted all their provisions, and were too 
impatient to wait until the stream was fordable. There were 
about four hundred of them, men, women, and children, and 
the scene of confusion, and damage to property, beggars all 

description. Their goods were saturated with water, the 
whole party wetted to the skin ; and in one instance a wagon 
sank entirely out of sight, and was only recovered by dint of 
diving and fastening ropes to it, when, with the assistance of 
several yokes of oxen, it was drawn ashore again. 

Poor Richard says, " Two removes is as bad as a fire." I 
doubt whether the crossing of the Boggy was not a complete 


conflagration to these movers. 

Emigration is very rapidly flowing into Texas, and of a cla^ 
calculated materially to advance her interests. We con- 
versed very freely with this party, and found them, both in 
outfit and conversation, a superior stock. They were all 

from Missouri, and had plenty of i-eady money. 


Mo, Bot Gar-Jen. 



Tlieir reason for cmioTating was the cold and inhospitable 
climate of Missouri. One man told mc that it waa necessary 
to fodder cattle seven months in the year ; a great difference 
to Texas, where cattle range in the pasture winter and 
summer, always fat and in good condition. 


They all seemed to feel that the change they were making 
was a hazardous one, and indeed, when the difference in 
prices, the in(^reased distance from market, and the risks run 
in acclimating, are taken into account, tliey might well think 
so ; and I am satisfied, from what I saw and heard, that many 


a heartfelt regret was uttered for the home and comforts they 

had left. • 

My experience here and elsewhere, will always prompt me 
to give but one advice to persons disposed to emigrate, viz, : 
if you are comfortably off where you are, bettor stay, the 
contiugeueies are too great to warraat a cliange. 

When Texas shall have completed a system of internal 
improvements, of course the objection of distance from market 



will not he, and perhaps, as a stroke for posterity, these 
people were making a judicious move, but still, " let well 
enough alone," is a most excellent domestic motto. ■* 

Our heavy train, of course, could not pass the Boggy, and 
as it was the Captain's intention to stop, for a few days at all 
events, in the neighborhood of Fort Washita, until he could 
procure some more stock, let those we had rest, and await the 
arrival of our military escort from Fort Arbuckle; we left 
our oxen and wagons on the prairie, and one of the partv and 


myself, swam our liorses and mules across, and stai'ted for 
Fort Washita (twenty-five miles distant), leading our spare 
liorses, to procui'e for them good forage and attendance for a 
few days, previous to entering upon our long journey across 

, F 


the plains. 
Did the reader ever undertake to lead a refractory horse, 

across an open country, in fly-time, with the thermometer at 
ninety-eight in the shade. If he did, he can fully sympathize 
with us, if he did not, he cannot feel a tithe of the escru- 
ciating torture of the operation. 

The green flies — our quondam torturers — again made their 
appearance, and this time — it seemed to me — more famished 
than ever. Our led horses, rendered half frantic, would dart 
first on one side of us, then on the other, sometimes come 
charging up to rub themselves against the ridden horse, who, 
rendered steadier by the rein, was of friendly assistance for 
this purpose — then again, rolling upon the ground and 
jerking back, or pulling fonvard, until our arms were nearly 
dislocated, such is a faint picture of our situation, under 


Arrived on the banks of the Blue, (The streams all have 
appropriate names in this country, as for instance, the Boggy, 
whose peculiarities I have described; the Brushy, whose. 


banks are tangled almost .impassably, with briars and bram- 
bles, and .the Blue, whose waters are a deep blue, from 
running over a bed of soft blue limestone and clay). My 



companion plead his inability to swim, as a reason for not 
taking the lead in crossing, so I was obliged to precede. 

All would have gone well, had not my horse commenced 
flonndering the moment his feet touched the soft clay at the 
bottom. In we went up to the neck, and whilst struggling 
to keep heads above water, what should I hoar but a stanza 
of the Blue Moselle, quietly hummed by the imperturbable 
individual on the bank, AYith a hearty expletivCj denouncing 
all sentiment, and particularly at such a time, I was fain to 
leave him to his fate, but philanthropy, getting the better of 
temper, I re-crossed and piloted the way to the ** terra firma'' 
„of the most beautiful prairie we had yet crossed, — the prairie, 
upon the outer edge of which stands Fort "Washita, where we 
arrived at sundown, sore, sunburnt and fatigued, to experi- 


ence all the comfort and pleasure, which unaffected and 
Jisiiilerested hospitality could offer and accomplish. 







Description of the Post. — Pleasant stay nmong our friends. — Fossilifcrous Re- 

mains. — Prairie, anfiont bed of the ocean. — Prairie Flowers. — Timber through 
the country. — Indians met witli. — Soil of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Eeseryea. 
Kbiiiarka upon the K a tives.— Territorial Bill. — Captain l^axes on 22d with 
part of the 

June 15th to 29tli. — This post, established about twelve 
years siuce, was garrisoned by one company of the seventh 
infantry, commanded by Major Holmes, and one company 


of the fourth artillery, commanded by Major Hunt ; -Major 
Holmes commanding the post Plain, but comfortable 
quarters, stand upon the brow of a hill, commanding a fine 
view of the plain. For ten miles, this rich, green velvet 
carpet is spread out, spangled with flowers of every hue, 
and interspersed with groves of timber. A little babbling 
brook meanders through the green sward at the foot of the 


hSl, the whole forming a scene of picturesque beauty, 
pensating in some measure for the isolation from society 
and the daily peril concomitant to a frontier life. 

We enjoyed the hospitalities of our friend, S. Hcmes, 
whose heart is as open as the prairie around him, and our 


time passed pleasantly and quickly^ roaming through the 


prairie and exploring the palaeontological remains in the 



vicinity, amongst wliicli the indefatiyaUe doctor fairly reveHed. 
Our friends got up many little social soirees for us and we 
were also eulivened by a vredding. One of the fair garrison 
belles, leaving parents and friends, cast in her lot with a 
young subaltern of infantry, who, after a four years' absence 
upon the frontier, returned to the States a Benedict; long 
•may he and his fair bride enjoy the sweets of the faith 
' pledged beneath the harvest moon, in the midst of Nature's 

choicest beauties. 

Poorly paid, and worse equipped, the soldiers of our repub- 

lie never can receive too high a mete of pi'aise for the choice 

that decided and the energy which marks their profession. 

Isolated from home and the world, they carry with them 
into these solitudes, refinements the result of well trained 
habits and education, and moving in a sphere, hallowed by 
feminine grace, beauty, and accomplishments, reality becomes 
romance, though the rose is well armed with thorns. 

The country around Fort Washita bears unmistakeable 
evidences that, at a remote period, old ocean'a surges rolled 
in all their might and majesty over these vast plains. 

Hitherto, the idea that they were once the ancient bed of 
the ocean, appeared to me to be a very plausible theory, but, 
" e:sperientia docet," no fact can be more fully established. 

Our explorations developed every w^ater-course, hill side and 
ravine to be filled with fossiliferous remains. Th^d iiidefaf i- 
galle doctor was busy from early dawn to dewy eve with ham 
mer and specimen bag, and his cabinet now contains fossil sea 


eggs, fossil oysters, scollops, clams, and other marine shells, 
whilst in the soft limestone we found the ammonite and the 


nautilus (extinct marine Crustacea), some of the former a3 
large as a cart-wheel. 


A suggestion has been made, that the days of Noah and 
the Flood will explain these deposits, but the depth of the 
strata and the size of the specimens found, prove revolving 
years of submersion and procreation. Some of the strata. 


were fifty feet perpendicular, with numerous specimens thickly 
embedded from bottom to top. 

What food for thought! Over a spot, now redolent with 
the perfume, and gay with the hues of sweet flowers, and teem- 


ing with insect and animal life, once rolled- the mighty wave, 
sported the monsters of the deep, and roared the tempest in 
its irresistible might! 

How ancient, then, must be this universal system — how far 
exceeding all the bounds set to it ; its history is as unfathom- 
able as -that of the Being who formed, and now guides and 
directs it ! Truly, at sight of nature's wonders, man sinks into 
puny insignificance. 

I have frequently alluded to the beauty and variety of 

the prairie flowers. It is a rich treat to roam amongst 

them. Throughout our march we found in profusion 

flowers which, in the Xorth and East, are cultivated with 

great care as ornaments for the drawing-room or conservatory. 

The Texas plume — a gorgeous flower of a brOliant scarlet 

the red and white rose, the prairie pink, the verbena, the 


marygold of many varieties, the convolvulns, tlie ranunculus, 


the sensitive and other liguminous plautSj the flag, the sun- 
flower and the wild pea — all luxuriant in growth and brilliant 
in colour — all bloom here together, and though" wasting their 


sweetness upon the desert air," still, as the occasional tourists 


wander among them, they stand the fragrant evidence of 


creative power, hallowing the scene and raising the thoughts 
from nature up to nature's God. 

The timber found in the country passed through is the cot- 

tonwood, black jack, post oak, pecan, pride of China, and the 
*' bois d'arc," or Osage orange,'which occurs first at Boggy. 
The wood of this tree is the hardest and toughest kno*ftn. It 
is usedby the Indians for making their bows, (hence its name,) 
is very close grained, and of a decp-yellow colour. It is also 
used for hedges. A very fine and lasting dye is also ex- 
tracted from it; The foliage is very thick, leaf small and of 


a very deep-green, making it a handsome addition to the 
forest. It bears also a very large apple, which contains the 
seed, and which, when fully ripe, is a deep orange colour. 

The pecan, is very useful for mechanical purposes, as it can 
be split into very thin laths, and is very pliable. We also 
found some hickory and white oak, but very rare, . 

Although the soil is in general a bUxck loam and ver^^ rich, 
the timber is short, except the Cottonwood. 

The soil is well adapted for corn— the only thing the 
Indians raise— and vegetables, evidenced by the strength 

» • 



and luxuriance of the. sun-flower, a plant wLich always flour- 
ishes best iu a locality suitable for these crops. 

During our stay, many Indians came in to trade at the 

sutler's store. They were Caddos, Chickasaws and Witchi- 


tas, a dirty, squalid and uninteresting set, 

A party of Kickapoos also passed one morning, with pack- 
mnles. They were on their way down to Red River to barter 
for whiskey, the bane of the red man, but which he will 
have, despite of law and at the risk of starvation, a melan- 
choly depravity, to our shame be it said, entailed upon him 
by the white man, against which no curse can be too loud 
or too bitter, no effort too strenuously exerted to eradicate. 

An old Chickasaw chief came in one evening, with three of 
his negroes, who had been kidnapped. 

He related to us a singular incident connected with this 
affair.. These negroes were kidnapped during his absence 
from home, and upon following them up, with a chosen party, 
armed to the teeth, and prepared for any emergency, he over- 
took them arid found that the kidnapper had just died sud- 
denly by the road-side, so that his property was recovered 
without any resort to knives or pistols, the usual *'argumen- 
turn ad hominem" in this country. 

We had now passed one hundred and eighty miles through 

the Choctaw and Chickasaw Reserve, as fertile a country as 

ever the light of day rested upon, and yet every days* 

experience and observation had only served to increase my 

feelings of depreciation of the character and habits of the 



natives, and my regret tliat so much of such fine land should 
be left to lie idle and unworked. . Why the gOTerament 
should not have limited these people to a tract much 
smaller, and even then more than they can or ^^'ill cultivate 
is to me a mystery. Not one-sixteenth part of it ^ill ever 
he brought under cultivation, under the present system. 

Climate, and every natural advantage here only serve to 
foster the natural indolence and distaste for all useful exer- 

V ■ 

tion, inherent in the Indian. 

It is true, many of the natives are rich in this world's 
goods ; it is not, however, owing to their exertions, but is the 
.effect of the force of circumstances. 


AVith this rich domain, inviting cultivation, and which 
yields tenfold for the smallest amount of cultivation from 
the tiller; with a market at their very doors— for this is 
and will be for years the main route for emigrants — and daily 
inquiry made for corn and fodder, which they cannot supply, 


they are content to live neglectful of the golden opportunity, 
scarcely raising enough for their own wants, and not even 
varying their own home-fare with an occasional potatoe or a 
turnip ; indeed, they raise no vegetables of any kind. 

Their cattle and horses roam through the luxuriant pas- 
tures, which nature clothes in verdure and life, winter and 
summer, uncared for, except to be driven up and^branded 
when necessary; their hogs subsist upon the mast, and with 
the corn, supply their eternal diet of hog and hominy. Thus, 
their horses and cattle supply their hoard; their hogs and 


■ corn — tlie one fed from nature's bounty, the otlier, raised 
by the sweat of their slaves, in quantity sufficient to keep 
them from starvation — are their food; and the Indian can 
mount his pony and gallop whooping through the prairie, 
lounge dozing about his log hut. or taking his rifle, stroll 
listlessly about the country; in short, do any thing but work ; 


that is a word not known in his vocabulary. 

Nor does their country supply only the necessaries of life ; 
the sumach grows in abundance and is prepared from the 
stalk almost in an instant. 

Whilst in camp one evening during our march, I obser%'ed 
two Indians ride up and dismount. One of them stooped 
down, pulled something from under his horse's feet, and 
walking to the camp fire, held it over the flame. Prompted 


by curiosity, I went over and found him preparing sumach 
for his evening's smoke. He had pulled a bunch of the green 
branches of the plant, and now held them in the flame just 
far enough and long enough, to singe and curl them ; he 
then rubbed them in his hands, filled his pipe, lit it, and, 
mounting, was gone, the whole process not detaining him 

five minutes. 

Thus, even the luxuries of life are supplied by the same 

bountiful hand, and "dolce far niente" made as perfect, as 
imagination can conceive, or the Indian's capacity enjoy. 

Even the few improvements in culinary utensils, and faci- 
lities for preparing food for cooking, are not taken advantage 
of- The old log burnt hollow at one end, and the rude 


pestle, still hold tlieir place ; tlie liancl-uull, as oU as the 
patriarchs, graces the chimuey side, and a pot or two aud 


an earthen jar make up the complement. 

So lived their forefathers, and that their ghosts may not 
revisit and rebuke any innovation, the Indian world must 

stand still. 

The style of building among this people is peculiar ; two 

square pens are put up with logs, and roofed or thatched. 
The space between the pens is covered in and serves for 
eating-place and depository of harness, saddles and bridles, 
&c. A door is cut in each pen, facing the passage. They 
have no windows, the door admitting all the light used. 
This style is called two jjais and a passage, and is, in fact, 
ouly a shelter for the family from bad weather, for'of furni- 
ture they have but little, and that of the rudest and most 
uncomfortable kind. 

These buildings are stuck (almost invariably) upon the** 


road ; no neat door yard, with a substantial fence and neat 
gate, encloses them ; no flower or vegetable" garden is seen, 
but the ornamental figure of a half-starved hog, grunts 
lazily on one side, and a pack of miserable curs lounge on 
the other, the whole presenting an untidy picture of squalid 
discomfort, which even its temporary appearance canuot 



Their present code of laws, if slyictly enforced, would 
secure all the safety to life and property necessarv, but 


either from indolence or inefficiency law is comparatively 

a dead letter among tlieni. 

In the space of six weeks, this season, no less than five 
murders were committed, and yet we met two of the crimi- 
nals at large and taken by the hand as usual. 

The stringent law against the introduction of whiskey 
may occasionally be enforced, but when it is, it is because 


the facts are too palpable to allow of any escape. 

The Bible, and the missionary, have failed to eradicate 
^ their veneration for and superstitious belief in the medicine 


At different points on our road v/e were witnesses to 
the absurd pow-wow and ridirnlous incantation of these 


Near the hut where lies the patient, they erect a pole, 
from the top of which flaunts gay ribbons and pieces of gay 
cloth. At the foot of the pole stands a frame, to which is 
attached a bale of muslin or woolen cloth, ribbons, &c., 
and the door ©f the hut is festooned with ribbons and 

colored cloth. 

The mighty medicine man goes through with his mum- 
meries, and leaves, taking the precaution to take with him, 
as perquisites, all the cloth, ril>bons, &c., which have been 
used, and according to his wants, of muslin, woolen or rib- 
bon, so will be the miantity required, and the quality of 
these infallible antidotes to the disease to be cured. What 
a commentary upon a people having all the advantages of 


tlie civilization and eulio-htenment of the nineteenth cen- 


tury ! 

A bill has been introduced into Congress, by the young 
and talented Senator from Arkansas, to organize a terri- 
torial government, which, sanctioning the privilege of pur- 
chase in, and settlement upon, the Eeserves, by the white 
population from the States, would soon change the face 
of affairs for the better, for what clearer proof is necessary 
of the inefficiency of the pure blooded" native to manage in 
a civilized community, than the fact, that in almost every 
instance, the leading men in these tribes are either half- 
breeds, or have a tincture of white blood in their veiAs. 

.The Senator has displayed the highest grade of pliiL^n- 
thropy and sagacity by his efTorts in this cause, and if 
successful, will not only elevate and retrieve the Indian 
character from aspersion, but relieve the general govern- 
ment from a heavy burden of imputation of wrong and 
injustice, under which it now labors. 

Two views are to be taken of the savao-e state. Either 

it is a state of degradation from original greatness, or else 
I the natural condition of man. If the former, it may be 

restored ; if the latter, it may be improved. 

That nations may decline in civilization, is evidenced in 
the degraded condition of the nomadic hordes that roam 
fhe vast plains of the East, descenc^nnts of a people who 
built the greatest cities of their time, but tliat they mav 
be improved, is a cardinal principle of philanthropy. 



The niodei'ii Englishman is as far removed in civilization 
from his ancestor, the savage Briton, clothed in skins and 
dwelling in huts, as the Aiaerlcan from the Indian, or as 
the humanized condition of the African race among us 
differs from the brutal condition of the negro in Guinea; 
and if mere contact -svith civilization can produce such 
results, what would not a systematic effort effect, when ^ 
brought to bear upon a race degraded from either of the 
causes named. 

The policy of our government has been practically to 
deny the capacity of the Indians for civilization, by com- 
pelling them to hold their lands in common, and not in 
severalty, depriving them of the power of alienation, thereby 
creating no necessity for self-reliance and individual effort. 


I know that some of our wisest statesmen, and men of 
philanthropic and benevolent natures, have pronounced 
this the most merciful policy, and that intelligent white- 
men, who have had opportunities of studying the Indian 
character, either in an official capacity or as missionaries, 
or as traders, have pronounced civilization to be so repug- 
nant to the native that he will not submit to its wholesome 
restraints, and hence that the phrase, "Injun will be Injun," 
has become trite, yet I contend that the Indian never can 
be elevated but by his individual effort, and that thrift, 
prudence, and discipfcne of character, the real elements of 


civilization, can never be attained untif he has to depend 


upon himself, a result never to be arrived at so long as his 
lands are held in* common. 


That some would fall a prey to the speculator and become 
•still lower in the scale of degradation, must be expected ; but 


they would be but a minority, and not to be considered in the 
ultimate benefits, and situated as we are towards' the red man, 
it is our duty^as it should be our earnest desire and pica- 
sure — to atone for his wrongs by affording him every reason- 
able facility for his possible improvement. 

My sympathies are with the aborigines, and I cannot better 
express them than by advocating, with voice and pen, a 


measure which seems to me to be fraught with more ultin>ate 

good results for them than any heretofore promulged by our 

statesm'en. Let them once be involved in common interests 

with white men, and a new impulse would be given to them. 

They would substitute practical life for sensual existence, accu- 

mulate wealth where they now barely scratch out a support, 
and, instead of degraded peasants, would become wealthy 


It is not the ability that the Indian wants, it is example, and 

to be brought daily into contact with the results of well 


directed industry, both of body and mind. This would be 
effected by the bill proposed, and which no well-wisher of the 

Indian can for a moment oppose. 

Though the days of Tahmehund and- Logan, of Tecumseh 

and Red Jacket, have long passed away, and though their 

virtues, energies and moral worth live but in history, still 




many scions of tbe stock may arise to kindle anew the burn- 


ing fires of tlicir eloquence and reflect new splendor upon 
ancient aboriginal renown. Let us clierisb tbe hop(5, that ere 
long the Indian representative may be found occupying his 
seat in our national legislature, to advocate his own cause and ■ 
secure his rights from oppression. 

I was not surprised in conversing with many of the old 
men of the tribes, on the subject of this bill, to find them ar 


of one opinion. ■ 

TJiey are strongly opposed to ii, and wind up all their con- 
versations with the same Conclusion, viz., that it is a scheme 

of the white man to dispossess them of their lands. They 
say, " We got land now, we keep him ; white man come, all is 


This idea is a necessary consequence of their inherent dis- 
trust of our race. At heart they hate us, and are only kept 
apparent friends by either fear or self-interest. 

The young men who have had some advantages of educa- 
tion, and mingled more with the population of the States, are 
more favourably disposed to the newly proposed arrangement, 
a fact which is acknowledged by the old men with much bit- 
terness, and either denounced as treason or as a scheme to 
rise in power and influence in the tribes. 

I took my leave of this fair spot in earth's garden with 
mingled feelings of regret and pity — regret, that so much 
beauty and fertility was wasted upon indolence and obtuse- 
ness ; -pity, to find all but the spirit of man divine. 



Our train arrived on the twenty-second, and on tlie twenty- 
sixth the Captain, having concluded all arrangements, left 
with part of it, intending to cross Red River and wait for the 
arrival of the military escort and the rest of our wagons, &c., 

at the Lower Cross-Timbers, 






Leave the Fort.— Mill tai-y escort.— Adventure with a Chickasaw.— Arrive a 
KiY en— Scenes at the Ferry.— Town of Preston.— Depp c rate fight.— Descript ion 
of soil, .S:c.— Cross Big Jliueral.— Basin Sprins-— Distinces on Plains decep- 
tive. — Arrive at Lower Cross Timhers. 

June 29tli. — At noon to-day we left our comfortable quar- 


ters at our friend S. H 's, and bidding adieu to "Washita, 

with its green plains, noble hearts and brijjht faces, we entered 
the timber, skii-ting the plain on the south-east, and com- 
nicDced our long journey to unexplored Texas. 

Our military escort, which arrived on the twenty-eighth, 
consisted of forty non-commissioned officers and men, from 
the seventh Eegimcnt of infantry, commanded by Lieutenants 
P e and C n of that regiment. 

The command was a mixed one of Americans, Germans and 
Irish, a fine body of men, and as they had all volunteered for 
the expedition, we flattered ourselves that, should we get into 
a fight, we should^have good material to depend upon. 

The afternoon was oppressively hot, so we made but a short 


niiirch, and on coming into camp found two-thirds of the com- 
mand " hors de combat," from indulging too freely in whiskey, 
where obtained no one could tell, but the fact spoke for 

itself, . 


To add to our discomfort, a party of drunken Indians came 
howling and yelling around camp, so that the night passed in 
restlessness and apprehensions for the morrow. 

It is almost invariably the case, when commencing a march, 
that the common soldier must have a frolic ; whether to drown 
regret at leaving his barracks, or in drinking farewell with his 
friends, or that he takes advantage of whiskey depots on his 
route, cannot be told ; most probably each of the three rea- 
sons has its weight, and the latter, perhaps, the weightiest 

of all. 

It is not a common drunk, either, that he indulges in, but 

one that, unless he gets into the hands of the guard, leaves 

him stripped of accoutrements, and almost of clothes, absorb- 

ing months of his scanty pay in an afternoon*s debauch. 

The most watchful care, on the part of his officer, fails to 
prevent this evil, and the only thing that can be done is to 
make the offender suffer the penalty of his offence. 

Some did not get into camp at all, and canteens, belts, and 
even muskets, were strewed along, just wherje recklessness or 
oblivion overtook the Bacchanal, to be picked up if it might 
so happen, if not, to be charged against his score on pay day. 

Captain Whiskey's account of profit and loss, had a long 
list on the debit side for this dav*s work; we were fortunate 
however, iii not having a mutiny to cap the climax. 

During the evening a young Chickasaw — a very fine 
specimen of the Indian — came into our camp and asked for 
whiskey. He was quite drunk at the time, and we declined 


giving laim any stimulant whatever. Yery soon after lie took 
a fancy to a calico shirt I wore, and offered a gaily trimmed 
hunting shirt in exchange. I gave him the shirt, and in a 
short time he jumped up suddenly to leave. Springing on his 
horse, we then observed that he had appropriated a knife 


belonging to Lieutenant P- e, and a buckskin coat 

belonging to our servant. We immediately charged him with 
the theft, M^hen he flew into a terrible rage, swearing vengc- 

r m 

ance and heaping imprecations upon us. We advanced upon 
■ him in a quiet, but determined mariner, M^hen he threw down 
the coat, but galloped oflf with the knife, swearing bitterly all 
the while, and gesticulating violently as far as we could see 
him. We kept a good look out for him, but saw no more of 
liim, though we learned in the morning, that he was one of 
the party who made the night hideous by their howls and 
yells around camp. 

June 30th. — Our march to day was very dull and 
uninteresting, our road at first, running over a succession 
•- of rough, steep hills, covered with low oaks; the weather 
oppressively hot, and the men suffering from their debauch. 

Five miles brought us to a very wide prairie, which we 
crossed, admiring the beautiful flowers, as usual, and every 
moment starting quails or grouse from their hiding places in 
the rich grass. 

This prairie was almost a level plain, extending to the 
horizon, and consequently not so attractive a view as these 

previously seen. 

7 ' 



: After leaving it, we entered the timber, wliict lined the 

road all the way to Eed Kiver, and passing many Indian 

farms, all looking alike — to describe one is to describe all 

we encamped upon the skirt of Red River bottom early in 

the afternoon, to alloAV the stragglers to come in, and to 

prepare for crossing the stream in the morning. Soon the 

gitard-Jwuse — a sunny spot on the hill-side, where they could 

boil at leisure — was filled with delinquents; and evening 

parade presented a funny farce, of bloody noses, torn clothes, 

and lame excuses, ending by bringing some ropes into 

requisition, and tying several of the transgressors to trees, 

to spend the night among gnats, musquitoes and other 

serenaderSj which abounded in any quantity, a romantic 

commencement to a long, hot, and perilous march. [ 

July 1st.— One would have supposed that the experience 


of the two last days would have been a sufficient lesson to 
our gallant sons of Mars, but the sequel of this day will prove 

the contrary. . 

We left camp at sunrise, and marching two miles through 
the low, sandy bottom, thickly wooded with Cottonwood trees, 
with their limbs beautifully festooned with the trumpet 
creeper, 'in full bloom, we arrived on the shores of Eed River, 
which we were obliged to cross by ferry boat, causing con- 
sidorable delay from our numbers, and the weight of our 


We found (*'en bivouac," upon the high bank), a party of 
Seminole Indians, men, women, and children, who had come 


a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, throngh the 

Reserve, to purchase whiskey on tlie opposite, or Texas shore 
of the river. 


' They were engaged in crossing it over in five gallon kegs. 

These they afterwards slung on their pack-horses in a netting 

made. of raw hide. • About fifty gallons were already piled 
. upon the bank in kegs, and more arriving every hour or two. 

.' The women were quite the most industrious of the party, 
although assisting in procuring the cause of most of the 
brutal treatment they receive from their husbands. 

• Though not low enough to be fordable, the water was still 
low enough to cause much trouble in getting the large flat up 
to the bank, so, being impatient to cross, I stepped into a 
skifF, which held Indians and empty kogs, and was soon over. 
On the way, I incidentally asked the fenyman, what he 
charged for this service, when to my surprise he replied, 
''Why, them as buys whiskey we don't charge nothin'; them 
as dos'nt, it's a bit." Proving a concert of action between 
himself and the rum-seller, who can afford to pay well for 
every rotary brought to his shrine, as he sells the fiery stuff 
at hco dollars per gallon, it costing him Jljlfeen cents, 
. There is no means, at present, of preventing this traffic, 
the general government having no jurisdiction upon the 


Tex^s shore. All that can be done, i^ for the Light Horse 

to be vigilant and firm in the execution of the law. 

■ The first person I met on landing, was the captain of tlie 


troop, a young Chickasaw, son of a chief. 


He was vs-aiting patiently until the whole purchase should 
be crossed over into the Eeserve, when he followed with his 
men, and ^promptly destroyed it all, amounting in value paid 
to one hundred and forty dollars. May he continue vigilant 


in this good cause, and perhaps, examples made, and the 
penalties suffered, may, in time, arrest this horrible evil. 

The town of Preston, from which all this misery for the 
Eed man emanates, is a collection of low groggcries and a 


few stores, lining the high bluff bank of the river. 

It is notorious as the scene of some most cold-blooded and 


cruel murders, committed in open day, and with — up to that 

time — perfect impunity. This, together with the detestable 

traffic I have just alluded to, has brought such a stigma upon 

the place, that the very name is su£B,cient for all that is 

ruthless and vicious. 

Whether our men had saved some drams from the old 


stock, or whether they procured a new supply from the Semi- 
noles, we know not, but to our surprise and dissatisfaction, 


they began to get noisy and uproarious before leaving the 
'shores of the nation, and by the time that, with the most 

strenuous exertions on the part of the officers and the few 


sober men in the command, our heavy train and oxen were 
ferried over, insubordination w^as rife in the ranks. 


So soon as they could be formed upon the Texas shore, the 
officers marched them rapidly through the village, but it 
being late in the afternoon, and the weather very hot, they 


coiicliuled to make but a short march, and, leaving the com- 
mand in charge of the Serjeant, preceded a short distance to 
search for good camping ground. 

Immediately, a scene of brutal and bloody confusion com- 
menced, "^yhich left indelible marks, not only on our memories, 
but upon the heads and limbs of the dr.unkeu actors in it. 

Scarcely had we reached a good camping spot, when a 
man came up, breathless, saying, that murder had been cora- 
niitted; and before the officer in command could gallop to 
the battle ground, two men came in, one, so completely 


bathed in blood, that ^but for his oaths, imprecations, and 
gesticulations, he would have been taken for any thing else 
than a human being, 

These men were both Irishmen, who had long been inimi- 
cal, and meeting during the general melee, both heated with 

liquor, and one over elated from having just come off cham- 
pion in a single combat, the desperate manner in which they 


fought, was evidenced by the injuries received. 
■ Upon "examination, one was found to have received twenty- 
two incised wounds upon the head, neck, face and arms, one 
finger cut off, terribly bruised about the body, and a stab in 
the back, seven inches long, and an inch and a quarter deep, 
yet, like a wild beast, he wallowed in his gore, and with the 
strength of a lion, strove again and again, to reach his 
antagonist, who, with a wound from a bayonet, in the left 
breast, lay panting for breath and vomiting blood, a few 

74 ■ . NOTES TAKEN. 

yards oiT. Others were batlly bruised and beaten, and in 
fact, the major part of the cominaiKl were in a state unfitting 
Ihem for discipluie, or even punishment. 

Thus ended our dreams of a quiet march for the rest of our 
jcJurney. We liad hoped, that the examples made before, wouhl 
have had a salutary effect, but behold, some of the very men 


who had transgressed and been punished, now worse than 
ever, whilst to crown all, the chief non-commissioned oflicer 
was one of the principals in the bloodiest affray, aud now 
lay completely "hors de combat." 

What a life does a subaltern of infantry lead ! It is all 
very pretty to write on paper, and to talk of the chivalry and 
romance of a soldier's life, of the tented field, the glittering 
review, or the charging squadron, but when we come to the 
realities, (as experienced in our service,) of a young lieu- 
tenant, with no protection but his nerves and individual 
dexterity iu arms, no guide but his sense of duty, sent out 
upon a lonely prairie, to govern a company of men, formed 
of every nation almost under the sua; men naturally brutal 
and vicious when sober, worse than brutes'whcn drunk; aware 

J _ 

that but little compromise will be made, or consideration of 
circumstances taken count of, should disaster occur; know- 
ing, too, that his duty is done at the risk of health and life, 
and for a pittance of pay as inadequate as it is ungenerous, it 


seems to me, that he who can find romance in such a life 
mast draw largely upon his imagination. 



The officers commanding this escort were both very young 
men, but watchful, energetic, and determined; and it is to 

these traits of character that we were indebted for no greater 
disaster, as in the preservation of discipline they were sup- 
ported but by two or three worthy exceptions among the 
Oicn. We camped about six miles from Preston, and spent 

a very uncomfortable night. 

From Fort Washita to Red river, the soil is loam, with 
ridges of limestone. The timber, oak and pecan, with ocCa- 
slonal bois d'arc and cottonwood. The river takes its name 
from the colour of its water, which is a dark maroon, full of 
sediment, and very unpalatable ^ . 

The Texas shore is very bold, presenting a stratification 
of red clay and white sand, giving a striking and very pecu- 
liar appearance in the distance, like chalk cUffs. 

The stream is but seldom In good boating order, rapid, 
and full of shifting shoals, making a verj^ tedious ferriage. 

Whilst we were crossing, a herd of about twelve hundred 
wild cattle were driven into the river from the Texas shore, 
to swim them over into the Nation, 

Taking tlic course of the stream, they swam down some 
distance, so that the whole herd was in the water at the 
same time, presenting a most singular appearance, with their 
long, sharp pointed horns and taper heads, only seen above 

the surface. 

A herd of one hundred and fifty mustang mares was also 

driven across. 


. These mares were taken wild on tlie plains, and were 
intended for the breeding of mules in Missouri. 


• Having read many descriptions, and seen drawings of the 


noble horse in his native wilds, what was mj surprise to find 
a poor, miserable, spindle-shanked, puny stock, not one of 
which I would accept as a gift (particularly if good points 
were the object), and at the same time to be told that they 
were very excellent specimens of the breed. 

I account for their degeneracy, from the unavoidable breed- 
ing in and in, which is inevitable in a wild state, and to whfch 
may be attributed the ill shape and small size of so many 
domesticated Indian ponies, 


The mustangs have proved entirely worthless for all ser- 
vice, wherever the experiment has been tried, very vicious, 



and of no powers of endurance on the road. - ; 

This experiment of mule raising, may be successful, but I 
should doubt it very much; the stubbornness of the ass, and 
the viciousness of the mustang, not being the proper ingredi- 
ents for serviceable domestic stock. 


July 2d. — Hospital duties, and the necossity of providing 
some means of transportation for the wounded of yesterday, 
(our ambulance having gone on with the Captain), detained 
us until a late hour this morning. 

The non-commissioned officer, eitlier from real sufferinir, or 
shame that he had set so bad an example, was in an appa- 
rently very distressed state, but after a time, a reclining place 
was found for him in one of the wajrons. The rest marched 


with the command, an instance of power of endurance in 
the one so badly wounded, seldom to be met with, his loss of 
blood, and the intense heat of the weather considered. Before 

leaving, a laughable incident occurred. 

A man (who had shone conspicuous in the revel and fight) 
came up to the Doctor, with both his eyes bunged shut. 
"Doctor," says he, in a rich brogue, "am I fornint ye, for 
. divil a bit can I see ounly daylight. Won't ye plaze and cut 
mc eyes open, for how do yeesespict a blind man till travil an 
this a strange counthry. Cut thim open, Doctor dear; sure 
I'll niver flinch, and if I hed thim opin I could see as will as 
ony man in the Company ;" a fact which the Doctor did not 
dispute', but declined the operation, so tied, on a pony, and it 
led by the guard, poor Pat had to put up with ''onnly day- 

liyJir for that day at least- 
Noon found ns 'crossing the Big Mineral, a limestone 
stream running through a rich bottom, thickly grown up with 
. hirge cotton wood, honey locust, overcup, and other heavy 
timber, besides plenty of the bois d'arc. The overcup is a 
species of oak, bearing an acorn as large as a hen's egg. The 
tree is very tall and straight, making excellent timber for 

building purposes. 

After leaving Preston, we entered upon the vast plains, 

which stretching to the Cross Timbers, gave us a foretaste of 

our home, and the seat of our labors for many weeks. 

From this point, there is but a house here and there, and 


the little village of Gainosville, until we reach the Upper Cross 
Timbers, and then adieji to all outward signs of civilization. 

Early in the afternoon, we stopped at the Basin Sprinr/, a 
perfect fairy bath tub, and fatigued with the scenes of the past 
three days, overcome by the intense heat, and almost famished 
with thirst, but above all, enamored with the place, we deter- 
mined to encamp for the night. 

An apparently dry ravine ran at right angles to our course, 

■ ■ 

on traversing which, we came suddenly upon a series of Icdo-es 
of limestone rock, arranged like stairs. ' 


Qver these, the water trickled, and was caught in a basin, 
worn by time and the action of the water, about three feet 
deep, and five in diameter, and so pellucid, that the smallest 


article might be seen on the bottom. 

After the muddy waters of Eed River, and the stagnant • 
pools of the prairies, what wonder that we hailed this foun- 
tain with delight, drank copious draughts, laved in its cool 
refreshing bosom, and poured out libations to the Naiad of 
the Spring, We did all this, aye, more, for we treated her to 
a serenade, the first we had felt any spirits for sitce leaving 
Fort Washita; and cooled, calmed and refreshed, an early 
hour found us wrapped in that slumber which only the tired 
man can really enjoy. 

'. July 3d.— Daylight found us bidding adieu to the Nymplis 
of the fountain, and entering upon the last large prairie we 
crossed before reachin;]^ the Cross Timbei^. 


■' After marching 'three miles, we came to a house nestled in 
a clump of trees, in the oj)cu prairie. . " 

We found, after making inquiries here, how deceptive dis- 
tances are on these plains. 

The man had never been beyond his house, in the direction 
we were travelling, and in reply to our inquiry, how far it was 


to the timber, which was in sight, and where we expected to 
join Captain'^Marcy, he said, "about three miles," and truly it 

- T- n , 

did not seem farther, but it was eight miles, two hours' travel 
before we reached the outskirts, and three miles farther we 
found tTie Captain encamped in a very cozy skirting of timber 
by the roadside. 

The eye is deceived quite as much on the plains as on the 
water ; the long stretches of prairie, although undulating, pre- 
sent no object so prominent as the belt of timber which bounds 
them, so that the eye rests at once upon this, skipping over 
the intermediate space and shortening the distance just in 
proportion as the ground is level or broken. 

These Cross Timbers are a very singular growth. The 
one we had,, now entered is called the Lower Cross Timbers, 
and is about six miles- wide; then eighteen miles from the 
outer edge of this one, we should enter the Upper and larger. 
They extend almost due north and south, from the Canadian 
to the Brazos. The timber is a short, stunted oak, not grow- 
ing in a continucms forest, but interspersed with open glades, 
plateaus, and vistas of prairie scenery, which give a very pic- 
turesque and pleasing variety. 



Thus far from Washita I had missed the flowers. A few 
were still left, but they had lost the charm of profusion aud 

It was to be sure getting late in the season, and I must 
expect that soon these prairie gems would vanish entirely froin 
our sight, but the thought caused me much regret ; there was 
such a home feeling about them, it was like missing "the old 
familiar faces." 

I found no new varieties to add to those already collected 
and described, except a convolvulus, and a species of lauris- 
tinus, of both of which I obtained specimens. 

The Captain having concluded to dispense with one of the 
teams, and send it back to Washita, the afternoon was spent 
in dispatching by this unexpected opportunity, letters to our 
far off friends and. home, w^hen, after a pleasant bath in 
a little stream below camp, we resigned ourselves to our 


blankets for the nicrht. 




Camp on Elm Fork of Trinity.— Independence day.— .Vrriyal of Indian hunters.— 
Remarks on the Delawnres.— Arrival at GainesTille. —Description of Tornado. — 
Funny scene in Gainesville.— Last bouse in Texas.— Parlance of the settl(?rs.— 
Camp on the Trinity. — Night march.— Manner of tracking horses by the 
Indians.— First ratUe^nake killed.— Arriral at TJpDer Cross Timbers. 

July 4th. — Independence day found ug on the march just 
as day dawned, and soon leaving the timber, we entered upon 
a broken country, conisting of ridges of sand and limestone, 
interspersed with small prairies and small strips of timber, 
principally black jack, until we emerged upon and crossed 


Elm Fork of the Trinity, where, on account of the intense 
heat, Captain Marcy determined to halt and encamp, there- 
after, intending to march by moonlight, until we reached the 
Grand Prairie. 

This stream runs ovcFa bed of reddish limestone, very full 
of fossils, principally the oyster and the periwinkle, and 
winding through an extensive prairie, offered a very pretty 
camp, whereat to spend our national holiday. 

Soon the tents were pitched, and a ration of grog issued 

to the men, whilst our mess indulged in a bumper of claret, 

and some excellent cake, presented us by the old cook 

at Washita. This, with the Star Spangled Banner, Hail 




Columbia, and Yankee Doodle, of course, roared -out at the 
top of not tlie ^veakest lungs, constituted our celebration, 
*our ecTioes bringing into camp an old squatter, wlio, roused 
from his solitude by such vociferous republicanism, came to 
ascertain the meaning of the invasion. His curiosity -was 
gratified to our gain, as we procured from him some excellent 
butter, at the moderate rate of a bit a pound, a rich treat 

in camp. 

During the afternoon, we were agreeably surprised by the 

arrival ot John Wagon, and John Jackson, our two Delaware 

hunters and guides. 

The manner and the certainty with wliich they found us, 
ghows how invaluable this race of men is for such service. 

AVhilst we lay at AVashita, Captain Marcy visited Fort 
Aibuckle, and left word with Big Eeaver — a famous Dela- 
Tvare — to procure him hunters and guides. ^ He could not 
procure them in time to join us at Washita, but ascertaining 
our route, and time of departure, tliese men took a straight 
course across the country, guided by the stars, swimming Red 
River, and other intervening streams, subsisting on cold 

flour,* and what game they met with, and struck our camp 
one hundred aud ninety miles from Fort Arbuckle — on the 
afternoon of the fourth day, as accurately as though they had 

* Cold flour is a prepaTatiou of corn. It is first parched, then pounded and 
according to taste, a Uttle sugar mixed with it. A haniiful of this wiU make a 
int of gruel, upon whiclr a tcan can subsist for twenty-four hours. 



only been making an excursion in tlie neighbourhood, and 
came in as unconcerned as only an Indian can be. 


They vrere paid — for their services during our expedition- 
one dolLar and a half a day, and one ration, besides having 
transportation for the skins of deer, &c., that they might kill. 

"We congratulated ourselves on the prospect of now having 
plenty of game, (as they are famous hunters,) ^'hich would 
bo a delightful change from salt provisions in such hot 


The Dclawares and Shawnecs are among Indians, what the 

Jews are among Christians. 

Coming originally from the shores of the Delaware Eiver, 
they are scattered thoughout the South and West, though 
their principal settlement is on Caw Eiver, in Missouri. 

Wherever they are found, they preserve the same character 
for truthj honesty, and inteUigence, and are ever ready, at a 
moment's warning, to take service, as hunters, guides, or 
interpreters, and travel off hundreds of miles from home. 

They serve entirely in these capacities, and are universally 
known and esteemed by travellers in our wild territories, in 
fact, it is almost impossible to get any other Indians to 
perform these duties; they are either too selfish, too lazy, 
^r too ignorant, and when applied for, always make the same 
reply, "Delaware he do dat, may be so you get him." 

We tried the experiment — as a matter of curiosity — when 
in the Choctaw and Chickasaw country, but to no purpose. 
They all kue^v the capabilities of the Delawares, and always 


ended by suggesting them. They are a nohle race, very 

athletic, but short in stature, 

. It is a religious principle Tvith them never to run from the 
foe, a fact which their enemies attribute to a funny cause, 
viz., the shortness of their legs, they say '* Delaware can't 
run, he got short leg, must stand and fight heap." 

One of their superstitions is, that the Great Spirit in the 
shape of a huge eagle hovers over them. When pleased, 
he appears in the clouds, and occasionally drops a feather. 
"When angry, he rises out of sight, and speahs in thunder. 
The feather is supposed to render the wearer invulnerable. 

The Delawares and Shawnees assimilate and intermarry. 
We expected an addition of three Delawares and a Shawnee, 


at Fort Belknap, thus making our Indian corps complete, and 


Sun down, found the camp all bustle, preparatory to a 

night march, and ere the harvest moon showed her calm pale 

face, we were on the road to Gainesville, where we arrived in 

two hours. 


This collection of five or sis log cabins^ dignified with the 
name of a town, was rendered celebrated in the annals of 
storms by a most terrific tornado, which occurred here on 
the twenty-eighth of May, (the same whose ravages I before 


remarked upon in the Choctaw Nation), the traces of which, 
had they not come under my observation, too palpably to be 
mistaken, I should have put down in the same category with 


^he Munchausen stories. 


About darkj ou the day meiitioneJ, this storm arose, and 
passing over the country in a vein a mile wide, left marks of 
its ravages, 'which were as indelible as they were destructive. 

The motion of the tornado was undulatory, evideaccd by 
the manner in which ev<jry thing it came In contact with was 
treated; as for instance, a very heavy ox wagon was taken 
up and carried a quarter of a mile, where it stuck in the 
ground to the axletree; taken up again, it was carried several 
hundred yards farther, and there the wheels were twisted off, 
and a tire broken and twisted into several pieces. 

Fences were blown off, driven into the ground, broken off, 
and again blown a long distance. 


Two women were taken up and blown three-quarters of 
a mile, impinging three timep against the ground in their 

terrific flight. 

A horse was blown into a tree, where it happened to 
catch by its fore-leg and shoulder ; these were torn from 


the body and w^re still hanging there, the balance of the 
carcase lying in a field full a-quarter of a mile off. 

A sheep was blown into the top of a high tree, w^here we 

saw it as we passed. 

The strata of wind seems also to have been about ten 
feet from the ground, rising and falling, as the trees in its 
course were broken off in a manner clearly so to indicate. 
One house, also, was blown down to the foundations, whilst 
another, beyond and in a line with it, had the roof taken off. 

In short, the whole scene indicated the result of great and 



inconceivable power exerted, fortunately attended with but 


little loss of life and limb. * • 

The same tornado destroyed the buildings and the beauti- 
ful [parade at Fort Towson," one hundred and forty miles 
distant, creating a most singular coincidence, viz, : orders 
had just been received to abandon the post, and remove the 

troops, &c., to Fort Arbuckle ; these were nearly executed, 
when the tornado occurred ; so that, in the same week, it was 
abandoned by government and also by heaven, and is now a 


complete ruin. 

Being considerably in advance of the train, P- e and 

myself went to a small store to make some purchases, when 
a laughable incident occurred. 

On our way to the store, we met a man with but one leg, 
who proved to be the proprietor. 

P e, in conversation, asked him how he lost liis leg ; 

he told us, and proved to be a jolly fellow. 

An article we wanted not being on hand, he directed us 
to another store near his ; on going into which, what was 
our surprise to find its proprietor also inimis a leg, and 


before we completed our purchase, our quondam acquaint- 
ance came in, when upon my remarking that two one-legged 
men were quite a large proportion for so small a place-^ 
'' Oh," says he, '' there are two more, and three of us board 
at the same house ; I shouldn't i^onder if he came in, he's 
here a'most every night,"— and sure enough he did (strange 


-■ ^ 

as it may appear), and joined in our merry laugh at so funny 

* ^ 

a comciaence. 

I proposed a race for a bottle of wliiskey, when, to our 
surprise, they assented, and started off up the roadj whilst 
■we, dying with laughter, were obliged to ride off, being 
behind the train some distance, 

A more absurdly ridiculous sight cannot be imagined, 


than the sis crutches and three legs scampering off in the 
moonlight. Long and loud were our shouts of laughter and 


those of our camp companions, when we related the scene, 
and Gainesville remains the one-legged settlement, from 
that date, in our memories. 

In an hour, we arriyed at the last house in Texas, and 
entering a piece of timber which crossed our road~a spur 
of the Cross Timbers — found it impracticable on account of 
the late storm, and consequently were obliged to encamp 
nntil a road could be cut through. 

We retraced our steps to a clear spring, near the house, 
and despite musquitoes, — which abounded in thousands,-- 
camped for the night. 

During our detention, I visited the house to make pur- 


chases, if possible, of eggs, chickens, milk, &c,, for our mess, 
and was much amused — as I had been before — at the pecu- 
liar parlance of the settlers, as for instance— "Will you sell 
me some eggs?'' "We ha'nt got nar an eggs," "Any 
chickens r "We ha'nt got nar a chickens." "Any milk?" 


" AVe ha'nt got nary milk." These replies were given with 

a strong nasal twang, totally indescribable. I made out, 
however, at length, to get "a ckicJcens" and returned to 


camp with the odd lingo still ringing in my ears. 

July 5th. — Our camp proved very uncomfortable and bare 

of pasture, so as soon as the road was clear, we struck tents 
and made a short 'march to a fresh and grassy meadow on 
the banks of Elm Fork of Trinity River. 

At the crossing of this stream, we made some very inter- 
esting fossiliferous collections, among the rest a nautilus, 
very large and an entirely new species. 

During the afternoon, Wagon saddled up and was gone 
about half an hour, when he returned with his first deer, a 
fat doe. 


The stream abounded in fish, among which was a new 
species of cat-fish of a deep jet black, several of which were 
added to our collection. 

Preparatory to our night march, we all indulged in a 
delicious bath in this clear limestone water, and at sunset 
were off, with a thunder-storm rambling in the east, and 
lighted on our way by the prairie on fire in our rear. A 
^ high wind arose just as we started, and the cook's fire being 
scattered, a fine effect was' produced, as the night waxed 
older and the storm-cloud grew blacker— on one side a 
pillar of fire— on the other a pillar of cloud— and the wilder- 

■ V 

ness between— a striking picture of the sublime, which left 
a deep impression upon us all. 


We made a very long marcTi auil at niitlniglit eucanipecl 
upon a Lrancli of the satue stream. 

• July Gtli. — This morning our Indians rendered us a most 
important service. 

The fatigue of the last march had made the ostlers care- 

less, and our horses having been loosely picketed, every 

horse but two was missing at daylight, 

. Fearful of consequences, the frightened ostlers were 

scouring around for hours, but unsuccessfully, when report 

& ■ 

being made to the Captain, ho dispatched the Delawares, 
who quietly saddling up, were gone about an hour, and 
returned with the whole troop, besides each had shot a fat 


doe, so that with the one shot yesterday venison abounded 
in camp. The plan they pursued was to ride in a straight 
line to the outside of the pickets, and then make a circle 



completely around camp, before completing which, they 


struck the trail of the stray animals, and following it up 

soon overtook them. 

The stream here was very narrow, but afforded water sufr 
ficient for our use, and a short distance above camp we found 
a pool large enough to bathe in, which we availed ourselves 
of just before starting in the evening. 

A bright moon shone over us on this our last march 
before reaching the Upper Cross Timbers. In fine spirits 
our party rolled along, cracking jokes and carolling 
snatches of wild song, when just as we passed the brow 
of a hill, our harmony was checked by a rapid k-r-r-r-r 



Iv-r-r-r-r, rattle, rattle, rattle, and a voice exclaimGd, "look 
out, look to your left," and sure enough, there, almost under 
my horse's feet and coiled ready to strike, lay an enormous 
diamond rattlesnake, looking ten times more deadly in the 
moonlight. Bang! bang! went revolvers — k-r-r-r-r, k-r-r-r-r, 
went the rattle — "there he goes," — "here he is,"— "there, 


hit him with your ramrod/'— " ah, that will do," — "now, 
bring him out," " My eyes, what a whopper 1 did yees iver 
see the like ? sure we have none of sich divils in the ould 
country, the bloody tief ; what do they make sich a ting fur 

ony how ?" said Paddy Thompson (the same lad who had his 


eyes bunged in the late melee) " hould im up 'till I look at 
im," — and there he hung, six feet long and eleven rattles, 

" an soul, but if s mesilf 'ill kape out o' the weeds if there 
mony jintilmcn like him there," said the same genius. This . 
■was the first large specimen we had met with. Our long 
boots and thick gloves were now indispensable, as iJtese jmile- 
men are not at all trustworthy. 

. This Thompson was a queer specimen of the Emerald Isle. 
An old deserter from the British army, he was the Caleb 
Quotem of his company, soldier, smith, carpenter, shoemaker, 
poet and vocalist, but his love of whiskey kept him in the 
bands of the guard more than three-fourths of his time. 

It was amusing, on the march, to hear him rolling out his 

Irish camp songs, one of which — the confounded refrain of 
which rings in my ears as I write — called the fate of Nell 
Flaherty's Drake, was a great favorite among his comrades. 


and even whilst blind from his fight, his voice coiikl be heard 
•^'ith the richest brogue aud merriest tone, as though nothing 

had happened. 

Such is the rakish, vagabond spirit of the Irishman^ which 
suffering cannot depress, privation cannot sabdue. The sol- 
dier and laborer of the world, in the words of the old song- 

« Och, for driukin', for figbtin' or handlin' tlie flail. 
Whoop, the ■boys of ouM Ireland wiU nirer turn tall" 

About nine o'clock we halted for the night near a small 
pond skirted with timber, and the weather being so warm, 
concluded to sleep " en bivouac." It was not long before the 
insect world made us sensible of their presence, and after 
enduring their attacks for a brief season, I left my blanket 


under the trees, and started to see how the Indians managed. 
They always bivouaced some distance from camp, and upon my 
approach I saw a sight which caused me to stop and admire. 
They had divested themselves of their scanty attire, and 


With their blankets spread under them, sat cross-legged, erect, 
and perfectly motionless, looking like two bronze statues in 
the moonlight. It was a study for the sculptor, a moment to 
realize a preconceived idea of symmetry m form and grace in 


At this season they always sleep in the open prairie, and 

away from trees or underbrush. Taking the hint, I moved 
my quarters also out into the moonlight and enjoyed my rest, 
• whilst my companions were slapping and scratching in the 
busiest manner all night. 




Thoughts at Sunset. — Enter the Timher.—Camp fire half way.— Old soldier 
brought in. — Jackson's Adventure. — Singular Mounds. — The Delawarcs la 
Camp.— Sunset Scene. — Arrive at Little Witchita. 


July Ttli. — At an early hour tlie Captain decided to cross 
the remaininf^ three miles of road intervening: to the edsre of 

O ^" ""'" ^"o 

the Upper Cross Timbers, and encamping for the day, com- 
mence the passage early in the eveniug. 

Soon the train was in motion, and without breakfast we 
marched briskly along, snuffing the fresh air of the flowery and 
dew-spangled prairie, until we reached a clear limestone spring 
where tents were soon pitched and preparations made ta satisfy 
appetites keenly sharpened by the morning's work. 

Before leaving our bivouac I caught an enormous tarantula 
and a large species of wasp, which burrows in tlie sand and is 


very venomous, as it avenged its death by stinging me, from 
the effects of which my hand was lame for a week- 
One of the men caught a large diamond rattlesnake, five 

-, - - 

feet longj with eight rattles, which being unbrufsed I prepared ' 
for our collection ; we also caught a new species of lizard and 
made some addition to our fossils. 

Wagon broiigiit in another fat doe, and Jackson brought 


me a cup of hk cold flour gruel to taste, wliich T7as a great 
curiosity to me. It tasted like musli, and was very palatable 

and cooling. 

We caught several horned frogs, a species of lizard, very 
nimble and curious little creatures, quite harmless, and long- 
lived, even when deprived of food, one having been kept six 
months unfed. 

In this way the day passed pleasantly and quickly, and 
sunset found us all ready to enter the timber. 

The road from our camp ascended gradually over the 
prairie* for about a mile, when suddenly and abruptly wo 

J _ 

found ourselves upon the brink of a steep and precipitous 
descent. On either side large grassy bluffs stood like 
fortifications, terrace and bastion rising one over the other, 
as if to guard the entrance. Below, stretching as far as the 
eye could reach, lay the apparently interminable forest of 
the Cross Timbers, like a barrier, on passing which we were 
to be shut out from civilization, its joys and cares, for many, 
many weeks. 

"We all stopped involuntarily to cast a last lingering look 
North, where lay all that we held most dear, and home, 
sweet home, never sounded more sadly sweet than when 
sung at that hour, with the last rays of a summer sunset 
deepening the shadows of the battlemented mounds and 
darkening the thick foliage at our feet. One look more, 
■ one sigh, one heartfelt prayer to Heaven that we might be 



spared to return and toll of all the wonders and beauties of 
Bature we had seen and were to see, and we were gone. 

The long twilight and the bright moon succeeding made 
our journey through the woods much easier than we had 
anticipated, though the road was much broken and the 


trees low, stunted and very dense. 

The timber is post oak and black jack, and the soil very 

Though these night marches prevented our making many 
observations along the road, still they were very judicious, 
as the oxen escaped'" the heat, and better still, th^ flies, 
which as I before observed rendered them almost unman- 
agcable. There is a wildness about them, also, which 
readers tliem very fascinating. To watch the shadows 
grow deeper and deeper, to let the fancy play and imagine 
a lurking foe in every thicket, or fashion a stunted tree or 
a bush into a panther or a wolf— then to ride in advance of 
the train, build a fire, and flinging oneself upon the gropnd, 
snatch a few moments sleep, or carol out some camp-fire 
ditty, with wolves howling iu the distance, and miles of 
uninhabited country around, is a romance in real life, which 
to be enjoyed must be experienced. 


Intending to pass entirely through before camping, we 
stopped half-way to rest the cattle, and lighting a blazing 
fire, our sad thoughts at sunset gave way to many a rollick- 
some glee and hearty joke, until the old woods rang with 
merriment, and the bright moon seemed to shine brighter 


still upon our noisy bivouac. Paddy Thompson came in to 


report tliat lie had found " an ould citizen feller"— as he ex- 
pressed himself— in the woods and brought him in, and 


" sow!/' said he, " I wouldn't ha' got him at all, only he 
kaughed in the grass, then I knowcd it was a humin." He 
proved to be a poor, squalid-looking, half-clad and half- 
crazed creature, who had been a soldier. He was now 
wandering about half starved, trying to find his way to 
Fort Belknap, The officers told him to keep with the com- 
mand, but as soon as he had supped off the contents of a 


haversack, he disappeared and we saw no more of him. 

In an hour we were again under way, and reaching the 
prairie we pitched our tents, picketed our horses, and all, 
except the sentinels, were soon wrapt in sleep. 

July 8th. — This morning Jackson was missing. He soon 
came in, however, and with a most lugubrious countenance, 
related his story of the night. 

He said — " Me see de fire light, den mc tink, may be so 
he camp here. Me take blanket, lie down, go sleep ; me 
git up, no man is dere ; may be so all gone ; now is day 
light, me see trail, come on." This he said in reference to 
our camp fire half way. It was a perilous nap for him, but 

one, no doubt, he was accustomed to. 

Indians always speak in the masculine, third person 
singular, when alluding to persons or things, and the 
phrase " may be so" is constantly introduced into their 



They speak very broken English, and I found they 
understood me much better ^vhen I spoke to them in the 


same Tvay, a correct and connected speech, seeming to 
confuse them. 

Last night's march fatigued us all very much, so that we 
slept long and soundly. 

The day passed in reading, writing and dozing, with the 

thermometer at one hundred in the shade, and nightfall 

found the train ''sireclted out" as it is called, and all ready 
for the road. 

The day's repose put us all in order for the enjoyment of 
our ride, which was a long one* but under such a sky and in 
such a country time and space are easily annihilated. 

We., passed at midnight a singular mound upon the open 

prairie, which we ascended and had an extensive moonlight 

This mound was evidently natural, curious from the fact, 
that it was the only mass of earth and rock in sidit risino- 
from the surface, and that it rose abruptly, from a narrow 
base, to a height of over one hundred feet. 

It was doubtless the remains of the ancient super strata 
of prairie, which worn by time and washing, has fallen from 

the level of the great Llano Exetacao, to its present general 

At daylight we encamped upon a tributary of Red River. 
July 9th. Turning night into day does well enough for 
cattle and horses, but its effect upon the human biped was 


very perceptible in the lounging stop, the hearty yawn and 
the disordered look of every one and everji;hing about camp. 

Our Indians, were the only ones stirring until a late hour, 
and when we turned out, two deer were ready for the spit, the 
proceeds of their morning's work, 

I have been struck with the thorough going manner of these 

When anything was to be done, not even conversation was 

indulged in until it was finished. 

So soon as they had deposited their game at the door of the 


Captain's tent, they turned their attention to drying the skins ; 
this they did by stretching them in every part by means of 
long thin sticks, fastened upon the hair side, and then hanging 
them in the sun, and air. After this — as this was their day 
to draw rations of sugar, coffee and flour — bread was baked 
and coffee roasted, they then prepared a meal, and afterwards 
lounged, chatting, smoking or dozing, until the time for 
making ready for the road, a good example, worthy of imita- 
tion, business first, ease afterwards. 

Having observed another mound about, as I thought, a 
quarter of a mile off, I started on-foot to explore it, when, to 
my surprise, an hour elapsed ere I reached the top, so decep- 
tive are distances on the prairie. 

This mound was more elevated, but less abrupt than the 
former one, 

I found on top a rude structure, built of loose stones, but 




whether inteiulGd as an altar for sacrifice, or constructed as 
an additioual land mark, it was impossible to tell. 

Some buffalo bones ^vere strewn around, and I roused a 
large grey eagle from his eyrie on the rocks; who, evincing 
rather a hostile manner, I thought most prudent to make my 
descent; not before, however, enjoying the view, decidedly 
the finest sunset scene I had yet met with. 

There is a kind of grass, which grows on the prairie, in 
patches, resembles timothy, and when in seed has a long 
shining cottony head. It required but little stretch of the 
imagination to form these patches into lakes, glistening in 
the sunset, so that with our large herd feeding, tents pitched, 
and white covered 'wagons, dotting the plain, I had as fine a 


pastoral scene before me as could be desired. 

The bustle in camp and the lengthening shadows ad- 
monished me that it was time to mount; so hastening back, 

Lieut. C n, the Doctor, and myself, mounted, took the 

head of the train, and led off on our grass-grown way. Soon 
an object appears on the distant horizon, "a deer," said one, 


"a horse," said another," "no, its a man," we all exclaim 
together. Now the'sight of a strange face and form, in those 
wilds, is by far the most remarkable that can be met with. 
It is like meeting with a strange sail at sea ; curiosity and 
suspicion are both aroused, so that the moment a human 
form is descried, every one is on the alert. "Let us recon- 


noitre," was our first exclamation, after deciding upon the 



genus in the distance, so away we went, when, lo and behold, 
our "ould citizen feller" again. Poor old wretch, he had 
become bewildered, from fatigue, hunger and thirst, and 
turning round in his tracks, was travelling away from, instead 

of towards the fort. Humanity now prompted Lieut. C- n 

to put him in charge of the guard, so that he reached Fort 
Belknap without any further adventures. 

Our march was a very long one, but a party of us managed 
to get to the camping ground about midnight^ where, building 
a fire, we resigned ourselves to sleep until the train came up. 




Carious phenomenoiL— Buffalo signs scen.—HiBtory of the buffalo.— Deer bleat. — 
Mepquite trees. — Captain leaves for Belknap. — Ox killed.— ^"WolveB abundant. — 
Indian relics found. — Wild horse tracks seen. — Wild passion fluwer.—Kkkapoo 
camp.— Arrive at Cotton Wood Spring. 

July 10th. — Our camp was on the head waters of the 
South fork of the Little Witchita. 

At this point the stream did not run at this season, but we 
found plenty of water in holes in the bed. 

Some years since, Captain Marcy (in passing along this 
route with a command,) encamped at this point, and notices 
in his report — a singular phenomena, which, to superstitious 
minds, would have been taken for a great and good omen. 

Arriving here, he found the bed of the stream entirely dry, 
but dispatching men up its course to search for water, they 
soon came running back, shouting, "look out boys, here 
comes plenty. of water;" and sure enough the river soon ran 
bank fall. The Captain supposes that the water had been 
dammed up by brush wood, &c., and ^suddenly burst through 
in sufficient quantity to create the apparent miracle. On 
such grounds many so called supernatural events may be 


BUFFALO.' 101 

After breakfast, this morning, the Captain started (as was 
his usual custom when in camp) to hunt and explore in the 



neighbourhood. He returned with news of having seen 
ti'acks of quite a herd of buffalo, a most unusual thing now 
in this country, and which fexcited us all very much, as a 


buffalo hunt is the prime sport of the prairies. 


This animal is rapidly disappearing from the plains. But 
eight years since, herds roamed around the City of Austin, and 
w^ere frequently seen in the streets ; now there are but few to 
be found south of Red Eiver, so that a sight even, but of all 
things a chase, would have been an episode in our camp life, 
- affording us both interest and excitement. As the species is 


becoming extinct, all facts connected w^ith their history 
become interesting and important. 

They were once found in countless herds over almost the 
^hole continent of North America, from Lake Champlain to 


the Rocky Mountains, and from the twenty-eighth to the 
fiftieth degree of North latitude, and were then only killed in 
quantity sufficient to furnish the Indian with food, clothing 
and lodges, but the havoc made among them by white men 
for their skins, and thousands of them for their tongues alone^ 
has thinned their numbers, and driven them to a narrow 
section of country, between the settlements and the base of 
the Rocky Mountains. A few extracts from ancient authors 
may not be uninteresting' in connection with this subject. 

In a work pul^lished at Amsterdam, in 1637, called " New 
English Canaan," by Thomas Morton, one of the first settlers 



of New Euglancl, lie says, *'The Indians liave also made 

■ » 

description of great Jieards of well groune beasts that live 
about tbe parts of this lake (Erocoise), non^ Lake Champlain, 
such as the Christian world (until this discovery,) hath not 

bin made acquainted with. 

"These beasts are of the bigness of a cowe, their flesh being 
very good ybo^e, their hides good leather; their fleeces very 
useful, being a kind of wooJej as fine almost as the woole of 
the beaver; and the salvages do make garments thereof, 

'^Itisteane yeares since first the relation of these things 
came to the eares of the English." 

Another author (Purchas) states,' that as early as in 1613, 
the adventurers in Virginia discovered a "slow Ar/ntZe of 
caiiell as higge as kine, which were good meaUP 

In a work published in London, in 1589, by Hukluyt, it is 
stated, that in the island of NewFoundland were found 
^^migMie deastes^ li\<e to camels in greatness, and their ^efe 
were cloven," He then says, "I did see ihemfarre off, not 
able to discerne them perfectly, but their steps showed that 
i^mxfeete were cloven, and bigger than the fcefe of camels. 
I suppose them to be a kind of hitffeSy which I read to bee iu 
the countreys adjacent, and very many in the^rm€ land." 

Colonel Fremont publishes some interesting staitistics of 
these animals, in his report, and states the number ascer- 
tained to have been slaughtered in one year (1849) to be six 
hundred iiimisand.. With this rapid diminution in their 
numbers, they must in a few years be entirely exterminated,^ 


• During the morning, Wagon brouglit in a doe and fawn. 
It made me sad to see tlie delicate little fawn stretched upon 
the grass, cold and dead, I enjoyed the rich, juicy flesh, 'tis 
true, but the means taken to procure it went against my 

Our Delawares, used a little instrument called a bleat, to 
lure the does ; it is made in two pieces, the lower one pre^ 
ciselylike the upper part of a dariond ; On this is fitted a 
hollow mouth piece, and by closing the end of the lower 
piece, filling the upper with air and opening and shutting the 
lower alternately, the cry of the fawn is imitated so exactly 
as to lure the doe within shot, thus making the affection of the 
mother for her young, the means of her death, a piece of bar- 
barity which I could not sanction, though I must confess my 
prairie appetite overcame my scruples under the influence of 
the savoury odour of the smoking haunch. 


It is not always consistent with safety to use the bleat in a 
"Wild country, as sometimes a panther or a bear maybe at- 
tracted by the sound, and unless the hunter has his wits about 
him, he may sufler for his sport. 

The following incidents, which happened during a former 
expedition, will illustrate this. Captain Marcy, endeavonred 
to lure one of a herd of antelopes, that were feeding some 
distance from him, one day when away from camp, when just 
as he was in the act of firing upon one, which had been de- 
coyed within range of his rifle, his attention was drawn to a 
rustling in the grass, and to his surprise, he saw an enormous 


panther, bounding towards him and T\'ithin twenty paces. In- 
stantly changing the direction of his rifle, he fired and suc- 
ceeded in dispatching the animal— the Indian guide also, once 
lured a doe and fawn within range, when a panther anti- 
cipated him by seizing the fawn, but was immediately shot. 

A large horned adder was added to our collection to-day, 
sunset found us again on the inarch, and ten miles brought us 

to a branch of the Trinity where we fixed our camp for the 
next day. 

July 11th. — The country we had been passing over, since 
leaving the Cross Timbers, was a rolling prairie, very thin in 
soil and timber very rcarce. At this point we began to find 
the Mcsquite trees in great abundance. 

This growth is a very singular one, variously called Mes- 
quite, Mezkeet, Musquit and Muckeet. The trees grow short 
and scrubby, seldom attaining a height of twenty feet, with 
the trunk, from four to fifteen inches in diameter. The 
limbs are short, crooked and very thickly studded with sharp 
thorns. The leaf is pinnated, long, and the leaflets elliptical, 
the bark a dark gray, resembling that of the poach tree, the 
wood coarse grained and very brittle, with the heart like 
dark mahogany. It burns readily, with a clear flame, leaving 
a very hot and perfect coal, like hickory. 

The trees grow singly, and at such regular intervals as to 
resemble a plantation, and so much like a peach orchard that 
one cannot divest himself of the idea, in entering a '^rove, 


that he is approaching a house, aud involuutarny listens for 
the watch-dog's bark, or some other sign of human habitation 

So much so is this the case that the sutler at Fort Belknap, 
relates a laughable incident (connected with this subject) of 
one of his teamsters, who one evening, on the route from Fort 


Smith, with a load of stores, got behind the train, and on 
coming into camp without his team, was asked where he had 
left it, " Out in that old peach orchard," was his reply. 

They bear a long slender bean, from which a cooling 
beverage is made by the Mexicans, and being saccharine and 
nutritious, is used for food by the Indians on the plains, and 
makes excellent forage for h6rses and mules. 

It affords a gum, which exudes from any bruise or incision, 
and no doubt will answer all the purposes of the gum arabic, 
in fact it belongs to the same family as the acacia. 

The mesquite is almost the only tree to be found over a 
vast region in the South TVest, and from its many useful 
quaUties, among which, not the least is its durability for 
building purposes— will be invaluable to the future settlers. 

The distressed condition of our oxen, determined the 
Captain to precede the train, go in to Fort Belknap — forty 
miles off— complete his arrangements and meet us fifteen 


journey into the wilds of Texas, 


which it would be our privilege to send for a long time. 
Hearts and homes, sweet words of pleasure, how clings 




affection round yonr memories. The sunny hours of childhood, 
the sterner realities of manhood, the ties of filial and domestic 
afiectioUj all crowd upon the thoughts at such a moment, 
never so fully appreciated, so fondly loved, as when about to 
say farewell perhaps forever. We all felt the influence of our 
solitude and isolation, and sadly wore the day away until sun- 
set brought the hour of preparation for our midnight march, . 

During the day three new species of lizards, and several 
fish were added to our collection. In the afternoon the 
Captain and the Doctor left us, and marching at nightfall, 
eight miles brought us again to the Trinity where we 


encamped. . 

Shortly after getting to camp, it was determined to kill 
an ox, who had broken a horn and was quite unruly. 

An hour had not elapsed, before we had a beautiful con- 

cert of whines, yells and barks from a pack of at least one 

hundred wolves, who snuffing the blood, stationed themselves 

around us and kept up their hungry serenade until day 

The wolf met with here, was the gray species, with a long 
bushy tail, very cowardly and voracious. 

Their tone is not a howl, but a whining yell ending in a 
short quick bark, both mournful, monotonous and grating 
on the ear, and veiy effectual in driving away sleep, when 
surrounded by such a host as annoyed us that night. - ' 

July 1 2th. The prairie around our camp was very much 
broken, and the soil barren. " 


A stroll, in searcli of better grass, brought Lieut C n 

and myself to an old Indian camp, where we found some 


beads and other relicF. 

We also saw numerous tracts of wild horses, where they 
had come to drink at a water hole in the prairie, which was 
at this time dry. 

Tarantulas and centipedes abounded in great numbers, and 
we made quite a collection of very large specimens. 

Nightfall, as usual, found us on the march, but on account 
of the scarcity of water we made slow progress, and finding 
a good spring on the open prairie, we encajnped near it. 


July 13th. — The prairie was still much broken and rough, 
affording a fine field for our collections in natural histoiy, 
among the rocks and ravines. We took advantage of it, and 
lizards, rattlesnakes, and the insect tribe, were brought in 
in numbers. 

One of the men brought me a most singular and beautiful 

vine. It was the vdM passion flower, at that season bearing 

both fruit and flowers. The flower is similar to the one 

known in the conservatories -North, and the fruit is about the 

size of a nectarine, of a brilliant red colour on the outside and 

orange inside. It looked very inviting, but is not edible. I 

collected the seeds, however, intending to try how it will 

stand our northern climate, where, should it flourish, it will 

make a most,graceful and gorgeous ornament for the arbor 

or portico. 

We marched at sunset, Lieut. P- — e going in advance to 



find ^vater. lie left word tliat wherever he found it he would 
build a fire as a signal. Several hours elapsed when we saw 
a fire some distance oflF the road. Supposing of course that 

it was his, Lieut. C n and myself rode up to it, when we 

suddenly found ourselves in a hunting camp of Kickapoos. 

We had several times remarked upon the scarcity of game 
on our route, having seen only an occasional deer, and those 
brought in by the Indians, causing them to hunt long dis- 
tances from the direct line of march. This scarcity was 
now explained; the Kickapoos are the most famous hunters 
known, and when they pass over a section of country game 
almost disappears for a season. 

- Their plan is to hunt in sufficient numbers to cover a 
long line of country, and moving forward in this order, with 
their families, pack-horses, &c., they sweep off every thing 
before them. Their women were busy dressing skins and 
drying venison. The skins were stretched around a square 
frame, made of poles stuck in the ground, with a fire built in 
the middle ; the meat they cut in long thin strips and laid it 
on t6p of poles bent into a semicircle, forming a kind of 
large coop, and then built a slow fire underneath. 

It was a wild scene, at the murk hour, to come upon these 
naked dusky savages bustling in the lurid glare of their 
fires, and looking like so many demons from the background 
where we stood. 


We found tolerable water near them, both in quantity and 
quality, and concluded to encamp for the night. 


After pitching tents we visited them again, when they 
offered us some venison and seemed quite friendly. 

An old and very gaudy dressing-gown which I wore, 

attracted their particular attention, and on.e of the squaws 


attempted to gratify her curiosity by handling me with her 
great greasy paws, but I kept moving round ahout and 
avoided contact, as nothing could be more disgusting than 
these copper-colored greasy wenches, naked except a filthy 
rag around their loins, their skins reeking with perspiration, 
and hair matted and uncombed. We soon gratified our 
curiosity and returned to camp. 


Just as we were about to retire to our blankets, voices 
were heard in the distance aud two young officers from the 
fort drove up, giving us the intelligence that the Captain and 
the Doctor were safe, and that eight miles further we shoiild 
Kjach the Cottonwood Spring, a well-known camping-ground 
for troops passing to and fro, and the spot designated by the 
Captain where we were to await his return with Major 
Neighbours and the additional Indian hunters and guides. 

It was now midnight, but the order was given, and in a 
short time we were off to the cool water, where we arrived 
just as day dawned ; fatigued, but fortunate in reaching the 
only really good water we had had since leaving the Basin 
Spring. A few hours sleep and we were all right again. 



CliAPTEE 15 


Omcers leaTe.-DeFcription of Camp— TTild I.idians come in.-Trofitmont of.^s.— Tisit of the Indians.— Indian Bivouac— Departure of Indians.— 
Captain and party arrive.— Major Neigbbours.-DescriptiuQ of our Ti^dlan 




July 14111.— The young ofBcers returned to the fort this 

morning, accompanied by Lieutenant P e, leaving Lieu- 

tenant C n, and myself alone in camp. 

We were encamped in a pleasant mesquite grove, in sight 
of the cool springy and though the weather was hot, a fine 
breeze so tempered the atmosphere that our stay was very 
reviving xifter uight marches, with muddy rain-water to drink. 

Whilst lying in our tents, about noon, wc descried some 
objects advancing over the brow of the hill in front of camp, 
and soon found them to be a party of To-wac-o-nies and 
Waco's on their return from Fort Belknap. 

They halted a short distance from our camp, and the women 
commenced putting up their temporary shelter, from sun and 
storm, which they constructed of boughs, skins, blankets, &c. 

The chief — (an ugly old creature, a fac sunile of a super- 


annuated monkey,) soon rode up, and dismounting near his 
half finished lodge, threw himself upon the grass, whilst 
his wife — about to become a mother — stopped her work, 


immediately, to unbridle, unsaddle and tether Ins horse, for of 
course, he disdained the smallest labour or assistance to her. 
The principal use the wild Indian mates of his wife or 
wives is to wait upon him, she takes his horse and attends 
to it when he halts, saddles, bridles and brings it up when he 
wishes to ride, cooks his meals, puts up the temporary 
lodge or shealting, and dresses what skins may be obtained 
in the chase, in fact, does all the manual labour necessary in 
their wandering life. 

Her lord lounges, sleeps, drinks, smokes, eats, fights, 
hunts, and not unfrequently, rewards her with a sound 
drubbing, the only extra physical exertion he ever makes. 

In the afternoon, the old chief made us a visit. He was full 
of affection for the whites, and showed us a certificate of 
character, (no doubt written by some worthless scamp, as 
we ascertained the old fellow to be a most arrant knave 
and horse-thief,) from which we learned his name to be 

He was, very importunate in his begging propensities, and 
not at all modest in his demands, as the sequel proved. ^ 

He wanted meat, tobacco^ flour, coffee and sugar, not salt 
meat either, for that he got at Belknap ; and taking up some 
yellow sand in his fingers, he said, ** Belknap suker so." 
Meaning that he wanted white sugar ; pretty well for a wild 

Indian, living the precarious hfe they do. We told him he 
must be satisfied with what he could get, not what he wanted, 
and he did not refuse what we offered hira. 


Soou after, the wliole gang gathered round, and then such a 
chattering among the squaws, like so many monkeys, running 
round and handling every thing and begging for every thing 
they saw. 

A son of the old Chief made his appearance last, in full 
court costnine, and a most laughable sight he was. 

lie had on a pair of moccasins, leggings made out of an old 
pair of soldier's pantaloons, a blue breech cloth, and an old 


greasy, summer sack coat, over which he wore an old 
fashioned full uniformed infantry coat mimts one tail^ the 


other, as Ak-a-quash told us, having been cut off by one of 
his comrades to get at his bottle of whiskey, whilst he lay 
drunk and asleep at Fort Belknap. His face was painted 
half a dozen colours, his ears loaded down with ]arn:e brass 
rings, and with a shock head of hair, to one of the side locks 
of which was attached an old red worsted comforter, he pre- 
sented the most ludicrous figure imaginable, more particularly 
as he seemed so well pleased with himself, and strutted about 
like a young turkey cock. 



Among his other accomplishments he had learned to swear, 
and kept repeating two oaths constantly in all he had to say. 

How strange the perversion, that man, whether civilized or 
savage, is so apt to copy vice, so slow to imitate virtue !- 

To attempt to teach the savage to read, to write, to sow, to 
reap, is a thankless undertaking; to learn him to smoke, to 
drink, to swear, can be effected in the shortest time, and by 
any tyro in vicious induls-enoe. 

THE DANDY.: 113 

Pretty soon, however, the youBg dauJy had his pride and 
consequence humbled, 

Ak-a-quash was very importunate for something to drink, 
and as we had no spirits of any kind to give him, we offered 
him some lemoaade, made with citric acid and oil of lemon. 
He drank it quite greedily, which the youth observing, held 
out his hand for a glassful; he drank it, hut it proved too 
much for his stomach, irritated by his late debauch ; a pipe 


of tobacco and the acid together, to use a common saying, 
Jixed him, the consequences I leave to imagination, suffice it 
to say he left as soon as he could get the use of his legs. 

By this time they had become very annoying to us, the day 
was oppressively hot, and the squaws keeping up such a chat- 
tering and running around, and the necessity of watching 
them closely to prevent them stealing, so that ordering up the 
commissary corporal, some beef, flour and sugar were handed 
to them, and pointing to the hill-top, we told them as plainly 
as signs could, to be off, which they did, not before, however, 
making another attack upon our sugar bowl and tobacco bos. 

I obtained a great curiosity from one of the sub chiefs in 
this party. It was a pair of ear-rings made out of a species of 
sea shell variegated and brilliant. They arc said to be brought 
from the islands of the Pacific Coast, and to find their way 
to these wanderers through the traders. They were very 

large and massive. 

The sub chief was badly shod, having on an old pair" of torn 
prunella gaiter boots. He took a fancy to a pair of stout 



walking shoes I bud, but cliaffered a good while before bar- 
gaining. He was willing to give one for both, but I said by 
signs, on^ ear-ring, one shoe; he took it, supposing perhaps 
that I would give him the other, but after waiting awhile he 
pointed to the other shoe and held out his other ear-ring, when 

I gave him the shoe, took' the ear-ring, and he wont off satis- 

These Indians go entirely naked, except the breech cloth, 
unless chance or crime throws some garment into their way, 
and laughable enough they look sometimes, as for instance- 
One of the squaws had not an article of clothing on her but 
an old filthy rag round her loins, and a gay calico sun bonnet 
on Iter head. 

' r 

The squaws were tattoed on the breast and face ; in lines 
on the face, and circles on the breasts. 

Their young children— of which there were six or eight with 
the party-were entirely naked-not wearing the breech cloth 

but seemed healthy, and were amusing therasclves with 
miniature bows and arrows. 

In the evening, Lieutenant C— n and myself visited 

their bivouac, when they all came out "in puris natnralibus," 
and danced to the devil's tattoo, beat upon the bottom of a 
tin can by one of the men, a wild, monotonous chaunt being 
kept up at the same time by the dancers, varied by short 
yells and grunts, upon the whole a very disgusting scene, as 
young "sam" coat tail swore a great deal, and took liberties 
with the .squaws not very agreeable to eyes polite. 

THE 8QUAWS. 115 

One old squaw, with a head of long, matted white hair, 
pointed first to the stalwart men among the dancers and 
then to her naked, shrivelled breasts, thereby informing ns 
that five of them were her sons, and then pointing to one of 
the squaws and a boy along side, showed by signs that he was 


her grandson. She also, by raising her hands seven times, 
with her fingers spread open, informed ns she was seventy 
years old. 

We soon left, quite satisfied that were we to take "them 


prisoners and either confine or kill them, in either case 


we would be doing good service, for except their greater 
capacity for mischief, there was no difference between them 
and the wolves, which at the time, were keeping their nightly 
patrol around camp in search of plunder. 

July loth.— The Indians left this morning, passing by our 
camp in true Indian style, viz., Ak-a-quash first, carrying 


nothing but his weapons, then the men of the party, and last, 
the squaws, some with a child tied in a bag and fastened 
around her loins, or seated upon a bundle of skins, upon the 
horse's croup, . 



The women rode astride, and theii' duty was to drive the 
pack horses and take care of the baggage, this being done 
even by the aged squaw, naked and bareheaded, but astride 
upon a pack, and armed with a whip, labouring away at the 
straggling pack horses, whilst her great louts of sons and 
grandsons rode along, listless, naked, and brutal, thinking of 
nothing but where they should get their next meal, or steal 


their next lot of horses ; truly, thought I, what is the use in 


spending time and money at this age of the world, to en- 
courage such brutality and vice. 

In the' eYcning the Captain, Doctor, and Major Ncigh^ 
bours arrived. They brought with them three Delawares 
and a Shawnee, the addition to our Indian force which we 

expected, thus making our corps of guides and hunters six 

Major Neighbours was a fine looking man, in the full vigour 
of manhood, about six feet two incbes in height, with a couu- 


tenance indicative of great firmness and decision of cliaracter. 
He was the Indian Agent for Texas, and joined tlie expe- 
dition to assist in the explorations and locations, a service 

which his great experience and judgment peculiarly fitted 
him for. 

The Delawares and Shawnees fraternizing so well, are 
often employed together on such expeditions. 

The new-comers were well known to our two quondam 
hunters, and observing that they all had the same Christian 


name, and called each other brother, I was curious to ascer- 
tain how so many brothers could have the same name. Upon 
inquiry I found they were children of sisters, consequently 
cousins. We now had John Connor, John Jacobs, John 
Wagon, John Jackson, John Jacobs, jun., and John Hunter, 
the Shawnee. 

John Connor was the leader and interpreter. He was a 
fine, portly man, about forty-five years old, and very light 


complexioned, witli long black hair and moustache, more like 
an Arab than an Indian. 

The costume of this party consisted of hunting-shirt, leg- 
gins, breech cloth and moccasins ; their accoutrements simple 
and entirely for service. They carried flint-locked rifles, with 
a knife, powder-horn and ball-pouch, an awl, charger, and a 
whetstone in a case, all slung to a broad belt, and ready to 


put on at a moniout's warning. In addition they carried pis- 
tolSj as one of them observed, " May be so now we got two 


shoots, any how." 

The Shawnee was a noble specimen of his. race. His com- 
plexion was a dark, reddish copper; his figure short, athletic, 
and all bone and muscle. He wore a black moustache, and 
disdaining any head gear, with a bushy growth of black hair, 
looked the very embodiment of wild vigor and endurance, 
either for the fight or the chase. 

We found him to be a splendid hunter, bold rider, and, 
though only twenty-two years old, a very reliable guide. 

We felt all the safer for this addition to our forces, and com- 
menced our doubtful and dangerous journey nnder most 
favorable auspices, our men being all in fine health. 






Leaye the roa<l. — ^Description of country 'from Red River.— Stock raising in 
Texas. — Buck killed. — Indian cookery. — Description of Bluffs. — Kickapoo 
grave. — Cactus seen. — Deer called up by bleat. — Mesqulte Beans.— Bridging 
Ravines. — Black Flies. — Cross Crater. — Snakes shot. — Arriye at Little Witch- 
ita — ^lesquite Grass. — Indian signs. — Manner of lariating. — A^ alley of Witch- 
ita. — Fine scenery on the Plains. — Antelope killed. — Anxiety about Horses. — 
Jackass Rabbit killed. — Breezes on the Plains. — Exploring Party leave. — Ar- 
rive at branch of Big "SVitchita.^ — Repairing Wagons. — Intense weather. — 
Effect of the atmosphere. — Oxen missing.— Reach the Little "VAitcbita. — Ex- 
ploring Party return. — Insects on the Plains.— Fawn chase. — Camanche graves. 
—Reach the Dividew 

Juj.Y 16th. — So far we liad had the advantage of the 
military road from Fort Washita to assist us with our heavy 
train. We had now to leave this and striking into the vast 
plains which compose unexplored Texas, to travel entirely 
by compass, make our own roads, and trust to the state of 
the case for water, grass, and whatever else might be ncces- 
sary to accomplish the objects of our expedition. 

From Eed Eiver to this point, nothing can surpass the 
facilities of the country for stock-raising, sufficient to mark 
Texas as the great stock-yard of our country in the future. 

The same advantages prevail here that exist in those 
countries where stock-raising is followed as a business, and 
will attain the same results. 



Water is plenty, the whole country being intersected with 
creeks and rivers, and although the season was unprecedently 
dry, we met with no scarcity even on our narrow line of 

The grass remains green and nutritious throughout the 
winter-months, and therc-is plenty of timber for building or 
firewood for the herdsman. 


There are in Texas between one and two millions of horned 
cattle, and the same management prevails throughout the 
State. The plan is to sell out all the beeves from four years 

old and upwards. The cows are never sold or killed for 
beef, but kept expressly for breeding. The increase in stock 
cattle is twenty-five per cent, annually, and in some instances 
more. This compounded yearly will produce in a series of 
years immense results. This increase is certain, for cattle 
seldom die except from old age. The territory is large 
enough to cut five states as large as New York out of it, 
and with such economy in management and such facilities of 


range, who can realize what immense herds will eventually 
roam all over these prairies, or the immense income Texas 
will receive from this source alone. 
After breaking up camp, we gradually ascended in a north- 


west course, over a rolling country, covered with buffalo 
grass and mesquite timber, stopping every few miles to 
admire the fine panorama stretched out before us, vast and 
picturesque as it was, and enjoying the delicious breeze, 
which though the thermometer stood at one hundred in the 


shade was exhilarating and refreshing, our party all in fine 
spirit3 and full of enthusiasm for the new scenes we were to 
pass through. 

After an hour or two*s march, one of our party saw a 
blanket tied to a mesquite tree, and fluttering in the- distance. 
Such signals are always to be approached with caution on 
the plains, as they are almost invariably a decoy of some 
lurking savage, who thus, by exciting curiosity, lures his 
victim within range of the deadly rifle or arrow. 

Approaching it cautiously, our guide, John Conner, gave 
us the agreeable intelligence, that John Jacobs, who had 
been sent in advance to seek for water and camping ground, 
had shot a fat buck and took this means of calling our atten- 
tion to it ; and a noble specimen he was, very fat, with a full 
head of horns just in the velvet,* so that instead of a Caman- 
che, we had caught a gem for the larder. He was soon 
skinned and ready for transportation to camp. 

We marched on, with the rays of a glorious sunset pro- 
longing the evening until a late hour shining upon us, and 

* Bucks first have horns when three years old.-Tlie horns are then short and 

They Phed them eiery year, and each sTicceedmg head of horns has an a.!(U- 
tional hranch. 



The horns now begin to itch and make the animal restTesa, who to relieve 
himself ruba them in the bushes and against Iho tre^s untH the velvet disap^ 
pears, and the solid bone Is discovered underneath. At the time of rubbing off 
the velvet, the bucks have asingular appearance, the whole head and neck being 
covered with blood and the velvety skin hanging in shreds from the horns. 


encamped upon so a stream that in anticipation of 


future wants the Captain ordered our water-barrels to be 



- The Major, an old campaigner, whose mouth had been 
watering for a taste of the juicy buck, immediately gave 
orders to one of the Indian corps, and soon the smoking rib? 
invited us to a feast which needed no Appician appetite to 



The way in which Indians cook venison is peculiar. Sharp- 
ening a stick at both ends, the meat is spitted upon it, the 
stick stuck in the ground near a blazing fire and the meat 
watched closely, turning it occasionally nntil the gravy 
begins to run, when with the simple addition of salt a.morsel 
is prepared which once tasted leaves a lasting impression 
upon the palate, light and easy of digestion, and carrying no 
nightmare with it. We enjoyed it fully, and slept soundly 

under the effects. 

July 17th.— We marched at sunrise, our course still north- 
west. In a short time the scene changed, and we were amidst 
the first bold scenery we had yet encountered. Long ranges 
of precipitous bluffs bounded the horizon, looking like so 
maiiy barriers to our future progress. These bluffs were of 
igneous formation, and afforded a fine fi'eld for the geologist. 
, In many places large slabs of sandstone were poised upon 
pencils of red clay, looking like a miniature Stone Ileuge, or 
the ruins of the Pantheon, the whole presenting a singular 

feature in the landscape. 





found some curious specimens of the cactus — perfectly 
round and flat, not more than three or four inches thick, but 
'many of them five feet in diameter. 

We also passed a Kicbapoo grave, which our guide pointed 
out to us, and described their manner of burial. He said, 
" He dig him hole deep like man, den stick him in head up, 

and may be so he leave him,"— a singular mode of burial, 

A doe and buck were called up on the open prairie by means 
of the bleat, showing how effectual this little instrument is in 
expert hands. One of our amateurs tried a shot at them, but 
failed to hit, and they bounded oii over the plain and were 
soon lo^t to sight. 

We crossed the west fork of the Trinity, and after noonin^r 
proceeded to make a bridge of gum elastic timber over 
that ran across our course. Tliis tree is not the caouicJiouc, 
but takes its name from the berry,' which is edible, and like 
the prepared gum elastic of commerce, is springy. 

The mesquite trees here began to show the beans, which 
are similar— though narrower— to the honey locust, aud being 
full of saccharine matter, our Indians seemed very fond of 
them, pulling and eating them by handfuls as they rode along. ' 

The wUd passion-flower also abounded here in great pro- 
fusion, festooning the trees and looking very tempting, relieved ' 
by the deep green foliage. I collected a good store of the 

After crossing the ravine, we passed through a succession 

a ravme 



of low hills, giving us, at every few moments, beautiful 
ctanges of scenery, and at sunset encamped upon a small 
fork of the Trinity. 


To-day, our oxen suffered terribly from the attacks of large 
black flies, which came in myriads. 

They were as large as humble bees, and very voracious ; 
their probosces inflicting wounds deep enough to keep the 
blood flowing after the insects fell off from repletion. 
. We felt very anxious about our stock, as these flies, with 
scarcity of water, which we expected to encounter, would tell 
tnost fearfully upon them, but hoped, as we rose higher, to 
get rid of them, 

July 18th.— Our course to-day was West, towards the head 
waters of the Little Witchita, passing through fine ranges of 
bluffs, affording many fine views, but the country so broken 
that the working party were constantly employed bridging 
creeks, ravines and branches. 

We passed through the crater of an old volcano, which 
must have been in activity before the flood, from surrounding 
indications, the ground being covered with scoriae, among 
which were found fossils. 


The Major shot a prairie snake, a species of adder, about 
eleven feet long, and a rattlesnake, a most formidable reptile, 
full seven feet long, with teeth an eighth of an inch in length, 
and eleven rattles. Both these specimens were prepared for 
our collection. 

Happening to remark that I thousrht it fortunate rattle- 


snakes were so seldom met with, Conner replied, "may be so, 
in de timber and valley, dere you catch liim great many, out 
here in de prairie, fire burn all up." 

Every one that we met with was sure to be despatched, 
and though the dimensions given appear fabulous, yet I can 
vouch for their accuracy, for their size so astonished me, that 
I was minute enough to measure each one described with a 

tape line. 

We nooned under a live oak, the first specimen we had 

met with. All the timber thus far, from the Belknap road, 

having been gum elastic, mesquite, and a few cotton wood 


trees near the streams. 

In the afternoon we marched only one mile, and reaching a 
branch of the Little AVitchita, found that so much work was 
to be done, bridging the stream and digging down the banks, 
that we could not expect to cross before sundown, which we 
did, and encamped in an old Kickapoo camp, on a plain 
covered with mesquite grass. I employed^ the evening in 

_ m 

gathering the seed, now fully ripe, with the intention of 
introducing it into the Northern States. This grass, having 
a long head upon it like oats, yields two crops during the 
year, is very hardy and good alike either for pasture or 
fodder; the cultivation of it among the farmers in Texas 


who have tried it, has proved very flattering and productive. 
At this camp — plenty of Indian signs being visible — much 
additional precaution was taken, liorae stealing being a uni- 
versal propensity with the savage. Their plan is to crawl 


into camp, unlariat a borse, and springing upon his back start 
off at full speed, tlius making a stampede among the others, 
■^^hich is generally successful. 

The government tried the experiment — some years since- 
of hobbling the dragoon horses — Avhen on the plains — with 
iron hobbleSj but had to abandon it, as the Indians invariably 
killed the horse when they could not get him off. 

Our horses during the trip were all secured by rope lariats 
thirty feet long, fastened round their necks with an iron picket 
pin, about eighteen inches long, at one end, to be driven into 
the ground. 

The Delawares secured their horses by fastening a short 
loop of raw hide around both fore legs, below the knees, so that 
the horse could only move slowly and by a succession of jumps, 
something like a kangaroo. Another plan is to fasten the 
long lariat around the fetlock, but the greatest precaution 


fails to secure stock inevitably from the wily savage, as 
sometimes a party will dress in skins, having bundles of deer's 
hoofs attached, and carrying rattles made of the hoofs in 
their hands, then near morning when all is quiet they sweep 
through camp with loud yells and rattling of the hoops, and 
creating a panic amongst the animals are generally success- 
ful to some extent ; often, however, sweeping ofT the whole 



July 19th. — Moving to-day in a north-west course, we had 


a fine view of the valley of the Witchita. 

Towering in the background were the long battlemented 

126 • NOTES TAKEN". 

Lluffs lining tlie opposite shore of th^ river below, tlie green 
, belt of timber marking its course, and in front the wide prairie 
■with its yellow coating of buffalo grass, studded with the pale 
green mesquite, a beautiful corabination for a landscape paint- 

My wonder has been throughout my journey that so few 
if any of our artists ever join expeditions to the plains. A 
portfolio could soon be filled with novelties, compared with 
which the hackneyed subjects universally to be found on sale 
or exhibition sink into mediocrity. Every variety can be 
found there, hill, dale, lake, valley, mountain, river and plain, 
whilst color, tint, light and shade are constant in quantity and 
* quality. Let but the experiment be tried, and prairie scenery 
will become a valued gem in the gallery. 

Why is it that no one returns from the plains disappointed. 
It is because 'their anticipations have been doubly realized. 
This fact is to my mind conclusive, that visits of artists to the 


plains would not only end in adorning the art, but give abetter 
impression of that comparatively "terra incognita." I say a 
better, not a full impression, for to be fully realized it must 
be seen and passed over. 

We nooned near another crater, which, like the former, was 
very ancient; the ground being covered with scorine, worn 
and abraded by time and weather. We found a new species 
of cactus, growing like a tree, the stalk and branches having 
a woody fibre, and studded with the thorny pulp peculiar to 
that plant. 


The largest rattlesnal*e yet killed was added, by the Major's 
Tinerring sis shooter, to our collection— eight feet long and 
eleven rattles. Wagon shot a buck antelope, the first we had 
had in camp. They resemble the goat more than the deer, 
and the flesh also tastes more like goat^s flesh. 

This specimen — a full grown buck — had a full head of horns, 
short, of a shining black color, with one branch. His head 
was an ornament to our collection. 

The antelope is the fleetest animal known on the plains, 
■greyhounds, which Captain Marcy had with him on a former 
expedition, never having been able to overtake one, though 
they ran down many of the red deer and jackass rabbits. He 
says that the longer the chase continued between the antelope 
and the hounds, the greater the distance seemed to be between 

The soil was red clay and very poor, in fact all the soil 
thus far from the Belknap road, was, with little exception, 
very thin. 

On the afternoon's march one of the party killed a jackass 
rabbit, a very large species, called jackass, from the length of 
its ears. It resembles the English hare in color and general 
appearance. This specimen had ears nine inches long and 
standing perfectly erect upon its head ; its body from tip to 
tip was seventeen inches long, and height ten inches. It 


made a very savoury breakfast dish. 

We reached the main Witchita for our evening camp, and 
after a bath in the brackish water of the stream, made a 


sumptuous repast off the ribs of the nntelope, cooked by the 
inimitable John Hunter, the Shawnee, the very pink of per- 
fection in the art of Indian cookery. 

July 20th. — Our Indian scouts having reported the country 
beyond our camp, in the direction we were traveling, inac- 
cessible to our heavy train, the Captain' determined to rest 
during the day, whilst preparations were made to explore 
further with a small party mounted and accompanied by pack 

We now found how judicious was the filling of our water- 
barrels. The water in the river was undrinkable by man, 
being salt and bitter. Our animals drank it, but with no 
good results, only as a necessity. It gave them cramps, 
made them restless and emaciated, and in the end would 
have proved fatal. 

We had plenty of water in our barrels and were quite 
comfortable, though the day was oppressively hot ; thermo- 
meter over one hundred in the shade; but thanks to the 
delicious breeze of the plains, we suffered but little. This 
a striking and very agreeable feature in a prairie tour ; the " 
morning opens close and sultry until about nine o'clock, when 
a breeze springs up, which, not altering the height of the 
thermometer, renders a grade of one hundred in the shade, 
or higher, not only tolerable but pleasant. This continues 
throughout the day, and the nights are cool enough for a 




We were now, by barometer, fifteen hundred feet above 
the level of the ocean. 

Our horses had lately become a source of great anxiety to 
us. Accustomed to be cornfed and stabled, they had fallen 
off terribly since fed entirely on grass and picketed in the 
open air, but this was not all; no horse should ever, on a 
trip of the kind, be ridden out of a walk, and then only in 
extreme cases ; he should be allowed the freedom of his 
head, never fretted and never ridden nv>re than fifteen miles 
in a day, or twenty at the farthest. 

Now no man could be more careful of his stock than Cap- 
tain Marcy, but with all his watchfulness and daily caution, 
it was impossible to control the wilfulness of some and the 


inadvertence of others; the results began to show themselves, 

4 L 

much to our dissatisfaction. The best kind of stock for such 
service is mules and Indian ponies ; they are raised in the 
country and acclimated, and this fact was clearly proved on 
our trip, for whilst those we had were fat and in good 
spirits, our northern horses were all drooping and miserably 
thin. As for oxen, I would not take them at all, or if I did, 


always the Texas cattle. The objections I make to them 

are these : they suffer from heat, from flies, and the want of 

water is to them destruction ; besides, they are so miserably 

slow. I should take mules for draught or packing, .and 

ponies for the saddle. I know that objection is made to 

horses and mules on account of the depredations of the wild 

Indians, and the consequent necessity of having a large force 



of men to guard them at niglit, but it does seem to me that 
the anxiety felt when horned cattle are employed, is para- 

mount to the objection ; besides, a trip could be made in less 

time and with far greater comfort and less loss. 

This being the birth-day of one of the young officers, a 
ration of grog was issued to the men. 

The addition to our collection during the day was a large 
snake, perfectly black, with red lines in diamond on the 
back. The Indians called it a chicken snake ; the head 
showed it to be a species of black snake. It had a full-grown 
rabbit in its maw when opened. 

A slight sprinkle of rain — the first for six weeks — followed 


by a brilliant sunset, closed the day. 

July 21st. — The Captain, Major, Doctor, and Lieut. P e, 

with a party of four, including two Indians — an essential in 
all expeditions in this country — ^left us at an early hour, on 

their exploring tour, leaving Lieut. C ^n and myself alone 

in camp. 

We were sorry to lose the Major, even for a short season ; 
since he joined our mess, we had received much valuable 
information and entertainment from his vivid and thrilling 
descriptions of frontier life in Texas, since its first settlement, 
with which he was identified. 

A plain, practical man, of sound judgment, great energy 
and common sense, he spoke "to the manor born," no 
hearsay, but all of which he saw, and part of which he was. 
An intercourse of fourteen years with the wild Indian 


tribes, ^ave him a fund of iriformation and insight into their 
habits, wants, and the best means of treating with thera 
invaluable to him iu his official capacity, and deeply interest- 


. ing to the ethnologist and tourist. ' 

The Major had been a state prisoner twenty-two months in 
the Castle of Perote, during the Texas revolution, and was a 
fine specimen of a frontier man in the prime of life. His co- 
operation e'ffected the best results for the expedition. 

The Captain having left directions that we should move on 
slowly in the direction of the Little Witchita, and there wait 


his return with the exploring party, we moved the train, at 
eight, A. M., ten miles, to good water, on a branch of the Big 

Our course had been northerly, passing over a most sterile 
waste, with the rocks of igneous formation, many of the bluflTs. 
stratified with soapstone and abounding in fossil. 

One of the Indians shot a spotted jackass rabbit, a very 
curious specimen, spotted similarly to those kept by the fan- 
ciers, evidently not of pure breed, but a cross between the 
common wild rabbit and this species.* 


The day was intensely hot, thermometer one hundred and 
two degrees in the shade ; but arrived at camp, we found a 

* I have beea met with an objection in describing this specimen, as to iU 
origiDj but I can find no evlclcnoe that species of the same genua wiH not pro- 
pagate in contact with other species of the same genus. On the contrary, the 
horse and the ass are species of the same genus, and their oSspringj tlie mule; 
whilst in the case of fowls it fs evidenced constantly, the common duck and iins- 
covy producing an excellent cross for the table; and instances are known of 
propaj,'ation between the dog and the wolf. 


Oeep rnnnhig stream, filled Vilih catfish, gar and soft turtles, 

■ We also found a number of large specimens of the pearl 

muscle, a beautiful and singular bivalve, which, I have no 

doubt,, would make an escelleni: substitute for the costly , 

mother of pearl. 

Poring the day, we were recalled to home and civilization, 
by passing through at least an acre of wild rye, looking just 
ready for the sickle, an incident which could not fail to make 


its impression upon us in this remote spot. 

With a pleasant bath, and a hearty supper of catfish and 

coffee, we relished our evening in camp more than ever, our 

anxiety about water, being removed for the present, which 

with our thirsty family was no small relief. 

July 22d. — I spoke of the stream upon which we were now 


encamped, as a running stream, and to explain. What is 
called river, creek, or rivulet, in this country, and at this 
season, refers to the course of the stream, not one in fifty 


having any water in it, except where the rain-water accu- 
mulates in holes in the bed, or some tiny spring trickles out 
from the bank, no wonder then at the ansiety of the traveller. 
In the rainy season, the contrary, from the water marks, 
must be the case, and doubtless then the country is impass- 
able, as it is intersected by dry beds of streams in every 

We had enough, and to spare, at this camp, and so halted 
for the day, until our wagons could be re-tired and prepared 
for future work. The effect of the atmosphere upon wood of 



all descriptions, even the best seasonedj was very surprising, 
causing it to shrink and dry up until nails drew out and bands 
loosened, requiring constant watching. 

The only way, inxlefault of a travelling forge to cut and weld 
the tires, was to take them off and nail round the wooden 
rims of the wheels thin laths of pecan, which is best for the 
purpose, and then heating the tires, draw them oii agaiu. 
As this had to be done to almost every wheel on our wagons, 

we were fortunate in our camp, as all hands worked cheerfully 
now that water was plenty. 

The atmosphere had the same drying elTect upon the skin, 
and one, who jperspired freely, found his face — on cooling in 
the wind — covered with a fine powder. 

There was no dew, and so bland were the nights, that I 
preferred sleeping in the open air, which I observed the men 
did, only using the tents as .a protection against the heat of 
the sun, which on this date was awful, thermometer at ten a, sr. 
one hundred and two degrees in the shade ; we were of course 
better off lying still, under such circumstances, so we amused 
ourselves with reading, writing and dozing until the moonlight 
hours for sleep. 

Some of the soldiers amused themselves shooting and fish- 
ing, but with indifferent success. One said the sun was so 


hot that the fish would not bite, another that the turkeys 
were too wild to get a shot at them, all ha"ving every reason 
but the right one, viz., their inexperience and want of skill. 

John Jacobs, Jr., Indian-like, saddled his horse and ^went 



off by himself. Not long after, to the surprise and mortifica- 
tion of the amateurs, he returned with a deer across his horse, 
two turkeys at his saddle-bow, a string of fish in his hand, and 
two soft turtles. "Ah," said one wortliyy."he's up to it, he 
knows the places;" perhaps he had never been nearer than 
five hundred miles to this place in his life, but habit was his 


guide and secret of success. 

July 23d. — Early dawn found us all ready to start, but after 
striking tents and loading wagons, a number of our spare 
oxen were found to be missing, and as we felt that no doubt 
we should want them all, in the future, orders were given to 
unpack and spend tlie day, which was done with no reluctance, 
the weather promising to be so intensely hot, and as it proved, 
thermometer as yesterday at ten a. m., one hundred and two 

degrees in the shade. Two of the Indians were sent off in 
search of the oxen. Nothing of interest occurred except 
that Jacobs discovered a large flock of turkeys on the hill 
side, and singling out a prime gobbler he pursued it untiringly 
until he ran it down into camp and there shot it with his 
pistol, a truly Indian mode of amusement on a hot day. 

With the usual routine of camp the day passed quietly, 
sunset was very gorgeous, and many meteors were seen in 
the evening, principally from the north-west. Lieutenant 
n and myself made ourselves as happy as circumstances 

would admit, enduring the heat, and sure of a pleasant 

July 24th. — Our indefatigable aborigines having brnn^rht in 

jj„.,., .W.W..^*.4^« ilW.i..^ »^*w.,^ 


the stray oxen, an early hour found us steering North, over a 
much better country, and at eleven a. m,, we encamped upon . 
a tributary to the Little Witchita, where we found good water 

and plenty of grass. 

As the exploring party had fixed no day for their return 
to camp, we expected to be detained here some time, but in 
about an hour after our arrival they came into camp, all 
very much overcome witt heat, thirst and the bad water of the 
Big Witchita, which they explored some miles towards its 
mouth, finding a very barren and uninteresting country, with 
neither grass nor water. They made themselves doubly wel- 
come to us, as they brought in a supply of honey, which they 
obtained by cutting down a bee tree. They also brought 
some grey grouse, and the Doctor had found a new and beau- 
tiful species of lily, of a brilliant purple, the petal black and 
cone-shaped. As the Major had never met with it before, we 

called it the CamcuicJie Lily. 

Specimens of the soap plant were also found and the seed 
obtained. This plant grows like the palm, and the Mexicans 
use the roots for manufacturing a very fine soap. We had 
a fair opportunity of testing the worth of this soap, as the 
Major had brought a supply with him from homq when he 
joined our camp. It has a very soothing effect upon the 
skin when suffering from the attacks of insects, or irritation 
from sunburn, &c. For ordinary purposes it is as good as 

the best. 

They were all much dissatisfied and prophesied great 




Buffering iu store for us from the want of water, not a very 
pleasant reflection for iis under such an intense sun— ther- 
mometer one hundred and four degrees in the shade. The 
night passed restlessly on account of the attacks of those 



Jiiimhvgs the mosquitoes. 

Gnats, flies, mosciultocs, &c., are all very troublesome on 
the plains, but all these together cannot compare to the 
attacks of the most diminutive of the whole insect family, fJie 
red hug. This little atom— for it is so small that unless upon 
a shining white surface one cannot see it — is of a brilliant 
scarlet, and buries itself in the skin in such numbers that the 
-whole surface becomes the color bf the insect, causing irrita- 
tion to such a degree that the contact of clothing is almost 

The only relief is to bathe in a strong solution of salt and 

water, which destroys the insect and allays inflammation, 
' although the remedy is — for a time — almost as bad as the 


July 25th. — The morning opened sultry, and sunrise found 

us on a course West of North, and enterhig a most desolate 
region. We were all drooi)ing, when about nine a. m., 
Jacobs, who was some di'stance ahead, suddenly turned in his 
saddles and discharging his rifle at a beautiful fawn, gave a 
whoop and started in pursuit. 

The little creature, frightened, came bounding directly 
along our line, running the gauntlet of our fire, and half of 
those mounted started after it, so sympathetic is an incident 


of tlils kind, but a jaded horse and a hot day, are poor 
assistants in a chase, so it ended as it began^ in smoke. 

A rabbit chase — tnore successful — shortly afterwards, gave 
a little more spirit to our party, but our apprehensions about 
■water, soon absorbed every other thought. O^eu cannot get 
along -without it, and it took no small supply for our stock. 

We toiled on until noon, under that boiling sun, with the 
thermometer one hundred and ten degrees in the shade — the 


climax of heat during our trip — and arriving at the foot of a 
steep bhifT, foirnd some rainwater in a hole filled with snakes 
and green scum, but concluded best to encamp and await the 
return of Jacobs, who was dispatched ahead to seek for water. 
Ascending the blufis, to get a better view of water 
courses, &c., we found two Camanche graves. They always 
bury on the highest peak in their vicinity at the time of 
the death. The grave is simply a hole scratched in the 
ground, large enough for the body, and stones piled on 
top, whether to mark it or as a protection against wolves 
I know not. I was curious to open one of these' graves, 
and had commenced operations upoa it, when Conner came 


up and with mingled awe and fear in his countenance, 
remarked "Maybe so, dia people dey not like dat/' so I 
desisted. I afterwards ascertained, that they bury a corpse 
in a sitting posture, with clothing, &c., just as it was at the 

time of death. 

From the top of the bluff Conner said he could see the 
course of the Brazos about forty miles off, and gave us some 

^ * 

138 NOTES TAKE?-!. 

encouragement, (as many green spots and lines could be seen^ 
marking holes or courses,) that relief was at hand in the 
shape of water, so that our camp wore a more cheering 
aspect, though I observed the raen made such frequent visits 

to the water-barrels that a guard had to be placed over 
them, their minds dwelling so constantly upon thirst as no 
doubt to increase it, which is invariably the case, not only 
with this but everything else upon which the mind dwells too 


Jacobs came in and reported water ten miles off, so that 


we spent a more comfortable night, for besides, strange to 
say, the thermometer fell Jffiee7i degrees before sundown, and 
the sky wag full of meteors during the evening, principally 


from the East, 

July 26th. — Jacobs was wrong in his estimate of the dis- 
tance to water; a not unusual thing, as I* have before 
observed, with Indians. Whether this arises from their 
habit of going to any designated place in the shortest time 
and by the shortest road or -not I know not, but they are 
seldom accurate in distances ; as for places, they never fail 
if they have once been there. 

We found some tolerable water about four miles from 
camp, and after watering our stock and taking a supply in 
our barrels, we continued our march and soon reached the 
Divide, between the Big Witchita and the Brazos, 

This is a high narrow ridge of lanS, very barren and entirely 
without water. Water is found on o^Mwr ^\f\o in ct.u« ^f 


tlie most earnest search none could be found until late in the 
afternoon, when the Major, always active and on the alert^ 
who had been scouring the country around^ found tolerable 
water both in quantity and quality in a ravine at the foot of 


a rough and sterile declivity, more than half a mile from any 
good camping ground. 

All this time we had been toiling along the top of the 


ridge, but now heat and thirst had done its work with our 
oxen ; some laid down in the yoke, some were turned out, and 
all were panting and lolling their tongues out — a sure sign of 


Orders were given to halt and encamp, which we did on 
the top of the ridge, where there was plenty of buffalo grass, 
and soon our thirsty animals were refreshed, as far as the 
limited supply of water would allow, and we making ourselves 
as comfortable as canvass coverings, with the thermometer at 


one hundred and sis degrees in the shade could make us 
the changes in the temperature from heat to cold, and then 
to heat again, in the last thirty-six hours, being very sur- 


prising and trying. 

Our course had been west of north, and the Brazos could 

be seen in the distance about twelve miles from camp. 

* It may surprise the reader, that although we had been for some days so near 
the Little Wltchita, the Big Witehita, and the Brazos, three large streams, we 
should suffer bo much for water. The fact is, as the aeauel ^vHl prove, that 
these streams take their rise in a gypsum formation, and are so impregnated 


but the main streams are salt and hitter. 



We disturbed a herd of antelopes near the water-pool, 
and several hungry wolves were ^prowling around in their 

The Captain caught a most curious spider, with the body 
as large as" a pigeon's egg, barred with alternate brown 
and canary coloured stripes, head brown and armed with a 

^ - 


horn, and legs long and black, a new species, and quite an 
addition to onr collection. 

This region abounds in iron and copper, and indications are 
very strong of coal. 


IRON AND corrER, 141 



.— Ca- 

VTater scarce. — Iron and Copper found. 
m»nche si gnal.—P reparations for exploring party with pack muleSj Ac- 
Party leave.— Antelopes seen.— Barren country .—Bad water.— rilling water- 
Sacks.— Witchita trail.— Conner's sagacity.— Cliapparal cock.— Reacli Big Wit- 
chita— Quick sands.— Accidents fretiuent.— Bexterity of Indians in skinning 

deer.— Bluffs met with.— Bivouac on bluff.— Fire in bivouac— Twilight des- 
cribed.— Rattlesnake killed.— Gypsum found.— Stream crooked.— Bitter water' 
— SickneFS in the party.— Large grasshopper found.— Insects gcaree.— Head of 
Big Witchita.-^TraTelling South.— Limestone water found.— Camanche grave. 
—Singular ridge.— Man lost.— Bivouac on Brazos.— Alarm in bivouac— Prair!© 
Bog town.— Catfish Creek.— Camanche traU.— Rough country.— Singul: 
knobs.— Hard times.— ilan very ill.— Gypsum mountain.— Cross fork of Bra- 
zos.— Better country.— Prairie Dogs.— Table Mount«in.— Arrive on Llano Esta- 

cado.— Head of the Brazos. 

July 27th.— The Captain being fearful of moving any 
further, in uncertainty about water, despatched Jacobs again 
in search, and we remained quietly in camp all day. 

The Major and the Doctor explored the conntry in search 
of iron and copper, and came back loaded with specimens, 


some very choice. 

Whilst writing in my tent, I felt a strange sensation in my 
leg and foot, and found that a large black Uzard had paid me 
a visit. Whether he was anxious to sacrifice his life in the 
cause of science or not, I know not, -but. he paid for his 

temerity by a bath in alcohol. 



The first specimen of the scorpion we have yet met •with, 
was to-day added to our collectiou, and another fine specimen 
of the jackass rabbit. 


During the day a large column of smoke was seen in the 
direction of the Brazos, and Conner pronounced it to bo made 


by the Camanches, as a signal, Major Neighbours having 
sent out runners, before he left home, to tell them that we 
would be with them ahout this time, and we had been daily 
expecting to meet one of the bands. 

Jacobs returned and reported having scoured the country 


for forty miles round and found it dry, barren and broken, but 
ut six miles distance, in a southerly direction, he found good 
camping ground and tolerable water. 

Upon consultation, the Captain determined to move the 
- train to this spot, and leaving it there, to complete the ex- 
ploration of the head waters of the Big Witchita and Brazos, 
with pack mules and a small mounted escort. 

Eeport was brought in that sixteen of the oxen were miss- 
iug, whether having wandered off in search of water and 
grass, or stolen by the Indians of course could not be told, 
Jackson and Wagon were despatched in search of them. 

July 28th. — Early this morning Conner replied to the Ca- 
manche signal, by building a fire upon the top of the highest 
hill he could find in our vicinity, which was about two miles 
from camp, when a column of smoke rose high enough to be 
seen at a distance of forty miles. 

The rest of the day was spent in preparations for the ex- 



ploriag party, and ia tlie evening the Indians brought" in the 

stray oxen. 

Owing to the iDad condition of our horses, we vrere nnable 
to mount but four men, which with the Captain, Major, 
Doctor, myself and five Indians, made but a party of thirteen, 
a small number truly, to attempt the thorough exploration of 


a country entirely unknown to white men, except as the 
retiring spot of numerous predatory bands of Indians, after 
their constant forays upon the frontier settlements; but we 
had to make the best of what w^e had, and trust to chance for 


July 29th.— Leaving the train in charge of the two sub- 


alterns, our party of thirteen, with nine pack mules and led 
horses started at day break this morning. 

Our course was North-west, and ascending gradually, we 
came upon a very extensive plain, covered with buffalo grass 
and mesquite timber. At a short distance south was the dry 
bed of a lake, covered with luxuriant green grass, and making 
quite an oasis in the comparative desert around us. Upon 



counted more than thirty in one spot, and deer were plenty. 

We rode six miles,* when suddenly and abruptly the scene 
changed, and a most singular country was brought to view. 
Below, stretching as far as the eye could reach, was a barren 

* We counted distances on our marcli by the time it took us, and tlie speed 
Qf our horses. With the train we had an odometer, a very curious instrumeiit, 
fastened in a leather ca^ to the wheels of the ambulance, "by which eyery 
revolution was counted, and thus the road accurately measured. 


and desolate waste, "broken and torn into ravines, mounds, 
gullies and defiles, tlie soil a bright red clay, and not a tree or 
a shrub, except the white dwarf cedar, to be seen. Crossing 
this was like descending the Alps; we had to lead or drive 
our horses, go single file, and hang on in many places to the 
cedars that grew in our path. 

At the bottom, we found the bed of a large stream, a 
tributary to the Big AYitchita, quite dry, with only a pool of 
water here and there, standing under the banks, salt and 

This being a foretaste of what we were to expect, the ever 
Vigilant Captain began to think of the future, and cast about 
for some place to fill our gum-elastic water-bags. 

After much search, he found a tiny thread of water 
trickling down the hill side, and despatched one of the men 
to dig out a basin to catch it in. 

In this way, in an hour's time, we filled our v^ater bags, 
and drank freely ourselves, when continuing our march over 
the same barren tract, we nooned near the dry bed of a large 

creek, where in a hole was brackish water sufficient for our 
thirsty animals. 

_ h 

In passing down the bed of this stream, in the afternoon, 
we came updn an Indian trail, when Conner displayed the 
extraordinary powers he possessed of designating by the mere 
tracks in the sand the character of the trail. 

Eiding along with his eyes bent upon the sand, he soon 
stopped, and said " Witchita trail, may be so, eight animal, 


two horse, one pony, tlxree mule, horse shod all round, pony 
too ; shoes on pony old ; one mule shod all round, othei^s shod 

before ; trail five days old." 

How he could be so accurate, he knows best, with nothing 
but some tracks in the sand, partly blown over by the wind, 
to guide him ; but suffice it to say he was correct, which we 
ascertained two months afterwards; the horses and mules 
having been stolen from the neighbourhood of Fort Belknap, 
and a detachment of dragoons having been sent out after 
the marauders. Such is the force of habit, and most invalua- 
ble is this power in a country where stock is liable at any 
hour to be stolen. 


The Erst specimen of the chapparal cock was here seen. 
It is a species of cuckoo, about as large as a grouse r runs 


very fast, and will not fly unless closely pursued. It is the 
only bird that will attack the rattlesnake, which it does with 
great fury, seizing it by the neck and beating it to death with 
its short stron^r wiuf^s. 

O "'^"O 

We gave chase to this specimen, a full grown male, but lie 
escaped us by taking to the thick tangled bushes on the 
bank. Shortly after we came to the Big Witchita. 

The bed of the stream was very wide, but there was but 
little ruuning water in it, and that salt and bitter./lisappearing 
frequently entirely in the sand, the shores frosted with de- 
posits of salt and gypsum, 
several times during the afternoon, as it was very crooked and 

'marching in a direct line, we had it in sight for a long 




distance, and it ran at right angles to our course every mile 
or two. The bed of the stream near shore was all quick- 
sands, and every time we crossed more or less accident 
occurred, happily none serious. 

My horse sank to the haunches. in one instance, and in his 
plunges threw me off, but as the landing was soft, a plentiful ■ 


bedaubing of red clay and mud was all the injury I received. 
Our horses and mules suffered very much from this service. 
Every plunge was made with a groan, and the strain upon 
legs and loins was very perceptible afterwards. 

For many miles along the north shore, extended a meadow 
a mile wide, which in the rainy season must be entirely sub- 


merged, from the water marks, making a broad lake, where 
now no water could be seen, the grass very thin and coarse, 
like tliat ia salt marsheg. In crossing this, the Captain shot 
a doe, and we had a specimen of the dexterity and rapidity 
with which an Indian can skin a doer and prepare it for 
transportation. ^I timed Jacobs during the operation, and 
he was iustjt/leen minutes from the time the deer was shot . 
until he had it prepared and packed on a mule. 

The south shore now began to be bounded by a range of hi<-h 

bluffs, and hoping to find water there, we crossed at the first 
opening and bivouaced on top of a bluff, one hundred feet 
above the stream, giving us a level plateau, with grass for 
our animals and a good place to keep look-out for Indians. 
- In a ravine, a quarter of a mile off, Conner dag into the 
bank and found water, slightly impregnated with salt and 

nasT GYPSUM. 147 


gypsum, but cold, so spreading our blankets and picketing 


our animals, we prepared for llie niglit on tliis eyrie. 

The clear salt waters inviting us, we all descended for a 
batli, wlien just as we were " sans culotte," a succession of 
yells and shouts from the Indians, and the crackling and 
smoke from the dry grass, proclaimed a fire on top. Hastily^ 
ascending, we found our bivouac in flames, but baggage safe, 
except that of the Indians, who lost considerable. 

We succeeded in beating out the fire, with blankets and 
horse clotlis, and moving a little higher up, spent the most 
charming night of our trip, cool and free from insects, with 
a sky above as clear aa sky could be, "and countless meteors, 
coursing their way over the Heavens, prmcipally from the 

north-east. * 

- The twilight m this country is remarkable, prolonging the 
evening until a very late hour, and, when the sky is perfectly 
clear, lingering on the verge of day-break. On this night it 
was singularly so, and at no time between snnset and dawn, 
was it dark enough to obscure an object at one hundred paces 
distant. VYe made, this day, a march of forty miles. 

July 30th.— Daylight found us all ready for moving, and 
passing through a meadow, below the bluff, where Jacob 
shot a monster rattle-snake, with nine rattles, we met with, in 
about an hour, the first gypsum, in luIJc, we had yet seen. 

The whole earth was covered with conical and rhomboidal 
chrystals of the mineral, whilst around and among it, lay 
jasper, agate and chalcedory, with some cornelian. Specimen 


hunting employed us for a sTiort time, and many choice ones 

■were found. 

The stream— which we kept in sight of as much as pos- 

■0 m 

Bible— was still rery crooked, and crossing and recrossing it 
very often during our march we found some land good enough 
to grow trees of a considerable size, but the most part was 


a barren waste covered with gypsum, with here and there the 
low stunted white cedar and patches of very thin coarse grass. 
In the fertile spots grew the China tree, the live oak and the 
mesquite, but all bearing marks of very insufficient nourish- 
ment from the soih The same danger and difficulty from 
quicksands attended every crossing of the stream, and the 
bed — where dry — w^s invariably covered with a thick powder 
of gypsum mingled with Salt. 

Heat and exhaustion — thermometer one hundred and six 
degrees — compelled us to stop at noon and remain until next 



We bivouaced upon a branch of the river, where was a 
spring icy cold, but intensely bitter. Not being able to find 
any other, we made a virtue of necessity and drank as little 
as possible, except in cofTee, when the taste is soipewliat dis- 
guised.* The Doctor made some lemonade with citric acid 

and oil of lemon, which refreshed us somewhat, but the 
* medicine was too powerful to be mastered by ordinary means. 

* It is wull to remarkj that our water-bags were filled and curried with us in 
case we sIiouM be unablo to find aay wator at all, either sweet or bitter — 
"which we had every reaaon to expect, and the supply of course remain) d 
untoached, fearful that such a coutitigency wi-uld arise. 


A doe and fawn, killed by tlie incomparable Wagon, 
afforded us a savory meal, cooked Indian fasliion, and our 
minds were diverted for a time by some very large bear signs 
in the sand, wliicL we followed some distance, but unsuccess- 
fully. Some anecdotes related by the Indians of the instinct 
and sagacity of bears, were very interesting. They say the 
animal invariably goes some distance with the wind, away 
from his first track, before making his bed to lie down 
should an enemy now approach he is obliged to come with 
the wind, when the bear's acute sense of smell warns him in 
time to make Lis escape. "When pursued lie will sometimes 
take refug-e in a cave, ami sliould the hunter endeayor by 
building a fire at the mouth to smoke him out, he not unfre- 
quently will advance, beat out the fire with his fore feet and 

then retreat into the cave. 

Another anecdote, however, would seem to prove the bear 
correspondingly stupid. When the hunter cannot succeed 
in smoking him out, he sometimes descends into the cave 
with his rifle and a lighted torch. When the bear sees the 
light approaching he will sit upright upon his haunches, cover 
his face with his paws, and remain so until shot. 

The black bear is harmless, unless wounded or accompanied 
by Its young, when it is very dangerous to attack it. 

I found a large species of wild gourd trailing on the ground, 
and very full of the vegetable, and caught a grasshopper as 

large as a good sized sparrow. 

We noticed that insect life was very sparse in this region, 


a great satisfaction to us, lieat and bitter water being evils 
enougli at one time. 

Diarrhcea had now set in with most of the party, and all 

began to wear an anxious look- 

Our course to-day was west of north, and distance thirty- 
five miles. 

July 31st. — At six a. m., we left our bivouac, and taking 
a trail through the cedar brakes^ and travelling up the river 
ten miles, we came to where it divided into three prongs. 

Following the first, led us up a steep bluff to an elevated 


prairie, when a beautiful view was presented. In our rear 
the valley of the Big Witchita could be traced for many 
miles, in front, and to our right, the head waters, all 
emanating from the same barren and desolate hills of gypsum; 


is entirely uninhabitable. 
We had seen but few 

ever do more than pass through this region, as grass, water 
and game are-all scarce. 

With no regret, we bid adieu to the scene behind us, 
heartily wishing it might never be our lot to visit it again, 
and turning south after a ride of six miles, came to a tiny 
spring, trickling from an overhanging shelf of lime-stone. 

Making a basin to receive the water, canteens and tin 
cups were soon busy, and from the number of cupsfull that 
found their way down our throats, in rapid succession, our 
thirst and joy at finding this God-send was very clearly 

AN OASIS. 151 

n ■ 

evidenced. We also renewed tlie water In our bags, 
which we took care to do at every opportunity. 

Near this spring, and on the highest point of the hill, was 
a Camanche grave, marked by a pile of stones and some 
remnants of scanty clothing. Conner pronounced it to be 
the grave of a woman, recognizing it as such by the few 
shreds of cloth, fluttering on a mesquite tree near the grave. 

We now passed rapidly on in a southern course, and 
entered an extensive plain covered with thin coarse grass 
and stunted mesquite timber, 


We moved parallel to a chain of mountains, making quite 
a variety to the dull monotony of the barren prairie, and 
striking the gypsum formation again halted towards sunset 
upon a branch of the Brazos, where we had bitter water, but 
plenty of grass and wild rye for our animals * 
. Previous to reaching 'our bivouac, we crossed a narrow 
ridge, upon tLe top of whicli was the dry bed of a stream, 
which overflowing in time of high water, caused a most 
luxuriant growth of grass on the flats at either side. It 
reminded me of the course of the Mississippi. 

Near this, one of the men got astray (in the tall coarse 
sedge, reaching higher than a man's head on horseback, and 
extending for half a mile on either side of the ridge) but with 
a succession of yells and shouts aroused the ever ready 

• We occasionally paFSod of this kind in our trip, but so small was their 
eiteut, in proportion to the immense territory trayer.ed, that they were more 
tantalizing than, useful. r 


Wagon, who was scouting in the vicinity, and soon put him 

Our bivouac was in a grove, the ground of an old Ca- 
manche camp* at the base of a succession of low hills of red 
clay, posted and sparkling with crystals of gypsum. 

The timber was cotton wood and hackberry ; the bed of 
the stream one quicksand, so that the animals were w^atered 


w^ith difficulty. 

An incident occurred here which shows how good a sentinel 
a horse or a mule is. They were all tied close to camp and 
we lounging on our blankets, when just at dusk the Major 
observed them start suddenly, -s^ith ears pricked, and one of 
tliem gave a loud snort. " Look out, something there !" was 
his sharp, quick exclamation. Instantly, every man was 
upon his feet, revolver and rifle in hand, when it proved to be 
one of the men who had gone over to put out the cook's fire 
on the gj-psum hHls, where it had been built for safety. 

This incident shows also how prairie life sharpens the facul- 
ties of both men and animals. Distance to-day, thirty miles. 
. August 1st.— Our course to day was still south, towai'ds 
some high knobs seen in the distance. 

left the g}^psum formation and crossed a pretty 
extensive plain, but soon we struck it again and crossed a 


• It was surprising how readily and with what accuracy \n detail our 
Dclawares wonid designate the tribe, the number and the di.»po«ition of the 
Indians, who.had occupied the deserted camps we met with during our whole 



same parties afterwards, 


braucli of the Brazos, the bed damp and oozy, with the water 
welling up through the sand at every step of our animals. 
We moved down the bed of the stream some distance, then 
took the shore, and came upon a very broken country, beyond 
which was a short prairie where was a prairie-dog village. 
These little creatures, so curious a feature in a prairie tour, 
gave us great amusement as we passed, sitting upon the 
mounds by their holes, frisking around or scuttling along 
from one hole to the other, filling the air with their low 
whining bark, and upon our approach throwing a summer- 

sault into their holes. 

A short distance brought us to a branch of the Brazos, 
very deep, as clear as crystal, and filled with catfish, gars 
and bufiFalo fish, where we nooned, dining upon some of the 
fish cooked by the Major. Wagon caught a catfish four feet 
seven inches long, and nine inches across the head. 

The blue and white cranes were seen here, also the yellow- 
legged snipe, and a species of large grasshopper of a shinin 
black color, some of the specimens six inches long. 

The grass was very rank and tall, and a high wind arising 
set it on fire from our Jcitchen, so that we had to make a hasty 
retreat up the steep bank on the opposite side of the creek, 
which we have called Caffish Creek. It was timbered with 

hackberry and cottonwood. 

The bitter water here began to show its effects upon our 
horses. All were restless, and mine was affected with cramps, 
causing him to lie down and roll upon the ground in great 






agony. I was obliged to change him for one of the led horses 
an impatient, nervous creature, who in crossing gave me fall 
tJie second in the quicksands along shore. 

On the top of the bank we struck a Camanche trail, very 
broad, and made by the lodge poles, which they transport 
from place to place in their wanderings by fastening them on 
each side of their pack horses, leaving the long ends trailing 
npon the ground, giving the trail very much the appearance 
of a carriage road, in so much so that one of our party 
remarked— without thinking that these lords of the plains 
were obliged to eschew carriages of any kind— that "we must 
soon overtake them, for here was the track of the chiefs' 
travelling carriage," an idea that caused much merriment. 

The country was now broken and rugged in the extreme 


for some miles, and until we came to the plain, upon the 
western border of which stood the singular knobs we had 
Been in the distance. One of these knobs— at the base of 
which we passed— particularly attracted our attention. It 
rose several hundred feet above the surface in alternate 
terraces of gray limestone, the whole forming a bell-shaped 
mound, perfect in outline, and a landmark to the traveller for 
a long distance. 

Passing this range of knobs, we entered the most barren, 
rugged and broken country we had yet met with, covered 
with stunted mesquite trees and dwarf cedar, the ground 
one mass of broken rocks. 


Sunset found us toiling along, weary and half famished 



for water. At length, we desceuJed a ravine, and bivouaccJ 
"per force" near two pools of the most bitter water we had 
had to put up with. We now realized, how comparatively use- 
less our gum-elastic water sacks were. The water not only 
became nauseous from the gum, but exposure to the sun 
rendered it equally unpalatable to the gypsum water. 

Wg also had gum-elastic sacks for our rations of pork, aud 
discovered that heat and grease together so softened this 
material, as to render it entirely unfit for service in that 
climate. The whole coating of gum peels off under such 
circumstances, and leaves the sack, not equal to one made of 

common canvass. 

One or two gutta perclia bags, unfortunately of small ca- 
pacity, happening to have been brought along, their contents 
proved good, so that we fared better than could have been 
expected, but our miserable bivouac, for that night, will long 
be impressed upon our memories. 

One of the soldiers, here became very violently ill with cramps 
and diarrhoea, and we were all suffering terribly and much ex- 
hausted by the constant doses of this most execrable stuff, im- 
pregnated, asitis, with sulphate of lime, sulphate of magnesia, 
sulphate of soda, chloride of sodium and hydrosulphuric acid,* 

Professor W. S Clarke, of Amherst CoUege, made an analysis of tliis water, 
»nd gives the foUowing as the result. 

"Water in fiiiid, ounces . . ' - - • ^-^^ 
Weight of Sulphate of Lime 
« « •* Magnesia, 

« » " Soda, 

" « Chloride of Sodium, . 

** ** Hydrosulphuric acid, 



a most nauseous dose under any circumstances, but y^lih 
tte thermometer at one hundred and four degrees in the 
shade, and long rides in the hot sun, creating most in- 


satiable thirst, our sufferings may be imagined but can- 
not be described. 

I had my first experience here in mounting guard, which 
became necessary in the disabled state of our escort, both 
Indians and white men. We all had to take turns, and a 
wretched night passed in restlessness and anxiety. We made 
this day forty miles. 

As may be supposed, we welcomed with joy the first 


streaks of day, and saddling up, we turned our back upon our 
wretched bivouac with alacrity, but apprehensive for the future. 
Ascending the steep banks of the ravine, we came upon a 
plain bounded upon the west by a most picturesque range of 
bluffs, then ascending and descending through hills, gullies, 
and ravines, we came, about eight, a. m., to the base of a 
mountain, which forming one of the range of bluffs men- 
tioned, had attracted our attention for some time, distenino- 

it did in the sunlight. We 


that it was composed of a solid mass of gypsum, the top level 
and covered with a dazzling white pavement of the mineral, 
as perfectly laid as though by the hand of man. 

From our elevated position a magnificent panorama was 
spread out before us. In our rear, the rough and inhospitable 



country we had just left, with the fire from our lately burnt 
camp smoking in the distance, a fork of the Brazos, windine^ 
its tortuous and uninviting course at our feet, an extensive 
mesquite plain, with the bluffs which bounded the opposite 
shores of the Main Brazos, in the far back ground, whilst to 
our right could be seen the two conical peaks, which marked 
the source of the Brazos, towering towards heaven, and look- 
ing like two dim clouds in the distant horizon. 

The view was truly attractive, but our sufferings for water 
overpowered all other feelings, and descending we pushed 
rapidly on, crossed the fork of the Brazos at our feet, and 
entered upon a plain covered with a singular growth of dwarf 
oaks bearing quite a large acorn, the oak a perfect tree in 
itself, but the highest not more than two feet high, 

The soil now was gravelly, giving us hopes of soon finding 
water, but after a very long ride and much distress, we found 
nothing but a stagnant pool filled with vegetable matter and 
sickening to the taste. By boiling it in our camp-kettles and 
skimming off the green slimy scum, we managed to make 
coffee, and one of the Indians having shot a deer, we passed 
a comparatively comfortable night upon the open prairie. 

We were surprised to find quantities of fish in this stagnant 
pool. Specimens of copper were also found, and fossil shells. 
We killed two rattlesnakes in our bivouac, and after filling 
water-sacks with the boiled water, retired to our blankets, 
having in spite of our privations passed a very interesting 




day.* Our course tad been south, aud distance forty-five 

August 3d. — We made an early start, still travelling south 
across the plain, \vhich became more fertile at every step, 
covered with a rich growth of buflalo grass and very large 
mesquite trees — a great change from the land of bitter water. 

Pretty soon we entered an extensive prairie dog town, 
whore (the Doctor being an:sious to procure one as a 
specimen) Conner and the other Indians made many shots, 
some of them effective, but did not succeed in securing a 
dog, as they tumbled into their holes and were lost. Two 
skeletons of heads were all that was obtained. 

Enormous rattlesnakes were seen here, one of which the 
Major wounded, but it glided into a hole and could not be 
withdrawn. These reptiles are always found in numbers 
about these towns, where they subsist upon the puppies, as 
has been proven by opening a snake killed, and not as some 
suppose, living on friendly terms with the inhabitants* - 

A small species of owl, no doubt attracted by the same 
cause, was seen flying around, and rabbits running in and out 
of the holes, whether occuping those deserted ^y the dogs, 
or as one of the family, could not be ascertained. 

The prairie dog is a species of marmot, with a head similar 

* A good plan, -when in a country like tliis, and having to drink such 
stagnant, Tvarm aB(i unpalatable water, ia to cover a canteen or gourd with a 
piece of woolen cloth, or blanket, and filling the yessel, wet the outside and 
hang it on a tree or bush oyer night; by cTaporation a cool drink is thus 
afforded at least once In twenty-four hours. 



to a bull-dog puppy, the incisors Hke those of a squirrel, body 
about the size of a commou rabbit, and tail like that of the 
chip squirrel. 

The immense numbers of these animals in one of their 
towns, may be estimated from the fact, that we passed ten 
miles through this town, and allowing it to extend the same 
distance in other directions, we have an area of one hundred 
square miles, when by estimating the burrows at seven feet 
apart, the usual distance, and six dogs to a hole, we have a 


population not to be exceeded by any city in the world. 
They are found all over the far western prairies, from Mexico 
to the northern limits of the states, and always select the sites 
for their towns upon the most elevated lands, where there is 
no water, sometimes none for many miles, but where grows 
a species of short, wiry grass, upon which they feed. 

This has induced many to believe that they do not require 
water, and as no rains or dews fall during the summer 
months upon these elevated plains, and the dogs never 


wander far from home, the conclusion is warranted that they 
require no water beyond what the grass affords. That they 
hybernate is evidenced from the fact that they lay up no 
store for the winter, and this grass dries up in the autumn. 

The Indians say that they may be seen, towards the last of 
October, busy with weeds and grass, stopping up eyevy 
passage to their burrows, and if they re-open them again 


before spring, mild and pleasant weather is sure to follow. , 


Usually, however, they never appear until settled weather in 
the spring, when they are about, as lively as ever, 

We saw wolves frequently to-day, and a good many deer, 
which gave us cheering prospects for better times, nor were 
we disappointed, for shortly afterwards we struck the lime- 
stone and found a beautiful and abundant spring, bubbling 
up at the foot of an overhanging cliff, composed of limestone, 
a layer of gypsum over, conglomerate on top of that, and 
sandstone over all. Agate, chalcedony, jasper and cornelian 
abounded here in great quantity. 

We nooned here, drinking copious draughts of this deli- 
cious water, which only he who has been so long deprived of 
it as we had been can fully appreciate. 

_ ■ 

Having refilled our water-sacks, we mounted again and 
crossed the south fork of the Brazos, finding the water 

undrinkable and the same appearance in the bed of the 


stream, the water disappearing entirely in the sand, and the 
shores frosted with salt and gypsum, the salt thick enough to 
be gathered in handsful. 

We now found a very broken country, and after a short 
ride crossed another fork of the Brazos, which from a moun- 
tain which we ascended a short distance from the opposite 
shore, we called Table Mountain Fork, 

This mountain was composed of calcareous sand-stone, 
rose precipitously from the plain and was quite level on top. 
Descending this, we crossed a succession of rocky bluffs, and 
finally ascending over a steep and dangerous road, came to a 



broad level plain, a spur of the Llano Esctacado, covered with 
buffalo grass and mesquite trees, and extending as far as the 


eye could reach in a perfect level towards the dim, cloud- 
like mountains at the head of the Brazos.* We found some 
deer here, and one of the Indians shot a fat doe. 

* The Llano Esctacado, or staked plain, is the most elevated table-land on our 
continent, and is supposed to be the original level of the prairies East. The 
plain proper extends from the thirty-second to the thirty-sixth paraUel of 
latitude, and is, in places, two hundred miles wido, without a tree or running 
stream throughout its entire surface. 

Formerly a road was staked off acrosa it by the old Mexicans for the use of 
traders, hence its name. 




Halt on the Llano Esctacado.— Grand View.— Descend from the plain.— T^ng 
Ride.— 'Miserable Bivouaxi.— Curious sight.- Panther Chase.— Terrible Storm. 
— Severe sufferiags.— India n Shealing,— Pleasant dreams.— Water plenty.— 
Singular bush.— Chain of lakes.— -Beautiful ep ring.— Pleasant Bivouac— 
Mostiuite Gum.— Kickapoos.— Fish shot.- Manner of spearing fish.— Reached 
our Camp.— Move Camp.— Flat Rock Creek. 

The Captain now stopped, to consult about going any 
farther. We had achieved the main point in our trip and 
were all heartily tired and disgusted with so inhospitable 
a country, besides that, the sick man could barely support 
himself upon his horse, and we all felt that to go any farther, 
in uncertainty about water, was to peril the lives of the whole 
party. We decided to return, and turning our horses heads 
east, we commenced our journey back to camp over the plain 
we had just reached. 

A ride of six miles, brought us to a precipice bounding 
this plain on the east, and with a sheer descent to the plain 
below of six hundred feet. The view was the most extensive 
and glowing in the sunset, the most striking that we had 
enjoyed during our whole trip, combining the grandeur of 
immense space— the plain extending to the horizon on every 
side from our point of view— with the beauty of the contrast 


between the golden carpet of buffalo grass and the pale green 
of the mesquite tree dotting its surface. 

How to descend was now the question — nothing presented 
itself in the descent but a mass of loose rocks of white streaked 


limestone, no path ; no opening, the foot of white man never 
before had been here, but descend we must, so the first foot 
hold witnessed us, plunging, rolling and sliding— men, horses 
and mules, one after other, and sometimes on top of each 
other, pell-mell to the bottom. 

I concluded to turn my horse loose and let him shift for 
himself, but came near losing him by the experiment. His 
rein caught upon a scrub cedar, and there he hung, like 
Mahomet's cofQu, between heaven and earth, until fortunately 
another horse rolled against the tree, broke it off, and both 


came to the bottom together, safe except a few scratches. 

When all had arrived at the bottom, Conner's first expres- 
sion was, ^' now may be so, long ride to water," and so It 
proved, we rode until nine at night, the Captain and the 
Indians scouring the country in every direction, and found 
none, when, just as we were all in despair — the supply in our 
bags being so insufficient — a halloo in the distance, raised our 
spirits only to be again depressed. 


It was Jacobs, who had found water in a small branch of 


Brazos, but on coming up, we found it so salt and bitter, that 
even our animals would not drink it. 

"We were too much exhausted to go further, so unsaddling, 
we prepared to pass the night and make out with the scanty 


store our water bags afiforded us.- Our miserable bivouac, was 


made more cheerful, however, by the delicious steaks of tlie 
fat doe killed in the afternoon, and now cooked by the Major 
in a style which would have done credit to a finished 

'* cuisinier." 

We supped heartily, and with hopes for to-morrow, rested 
as well as tired men could, with a yelping concert of wolves 
in their vicinity. 

August 4th.— XiOng before daylight, we were off without 
breakfast, and riding rapidly and examining every spot where 
water might be thought to be, about eight o'clock we found 
in a branch, a small quantity of water, which though so putrid 
as to scent the atmosphere, our famishing animals drank 
greedily. We could not swallow it, though suffering terribly. 

A curious sight presented itself here. Large numbers 

of buffalo fish, had penetrated to this point in high water, and 

their skeletons in thousands, lined the shores, where they had 

perished after the water receded, and afforded a rich repast 

for eagles and buzzards, whose feathers were thickly strewn 

We pushed on, and about ten o'clock, the Captain sur- 
prised a panther, in his tracts— the first one we had met with 
•and giving chase, soon came to a fine stream, which from 


this circumstance, he called Panther Creek. 

Joy at finding water, drove away all thoughts of the 
panther, and shouting out the welcome news, we were soon 
bivouaced under a wide spreading elm, enjoying good water 



and a savoury breakast of venison and "vrild tnrkies, large flocks 
of which abounded in the vicinity. The stream, was bordered • 
with hackberry, willow, wild china, post oak and elm, grass 
very green and luxuriant, and being of course all much over- 
Come, we rested here until three o'clock in the afternoon. 

I found a large diamond back terrapin on the banks of the 
stream, very similar to those found in the north- deer were 

plenty, aud many wolves- 
Heavy clouds and the low rumbling in the west, betokened 
a coming storm, just as we had got all ready to start, and 
before we got far it burst upon us terrifically, with rain, hail, 
thunder and lightning. A storm, on the plains, is a serious 

matter. The wind blows irresistibly, and the driving rain and 
hail so cuts and blinds both men and horses, that no headway 
can be made against it. My horse turned completely round 
in his tracks, and it was with much difficulty that I forced him 
to the shelter of a low clump of bushes, where, dismounting, I 
seated myself under their scanty cover, whilst he instinctively 
turned and exposed his haunches to the blast, and stood with 
drooping head and reeking flanks, trembling in every limb, 

until its violence had passed. 

Wet and uncomfortable, we started once more, but our 

troubles were not yet over. We had, as we thought, left 


forever the nauseous and disgusting water of the Brazos 

country, and after our pleasant bivouac, were all refreshed 

and cheered by the prospect of better times in our eastward 

march to camp, when, after a long ride in our wet clothes, we 



"halted for the niglit, upon the banks of a fine running stream, 


and unsaddling, prepared for rest and repose, supposing of 
course, that the "water was as good as that of Panther Creek, 
but oh, what a disappointment ! Quite as bad in salt and 
gypsum as the waters of the Upper Brazos, this had the 
addition of more sulphur, and some rice cooked in it for the 
invalids, tasted precisely as if mixed with gunpowder ; and to 
cap the climax the rain again began to pour down in torrents. 
%Ve had to make the best of our situation, however, and to 
obviate the evils that beset us, with the means in our power. 

We had taken no precaution to refill our water-bags at 
Panther Creek, feeling sure, as I before remarked, of finding 
plenty, but about Jialf a piiit per man remained in them, 
which tasted strongly of the gum, and having been heated and 
cooled several times, was a nauseous dose. With this we 
made some coffee, and building a fire under shelter of a bank, 
our Indians cooked a turkey, after their fashion. We then 
prepared quarters for the night, 

A tent fly had been brought along, as an awning to noon 
under, and by stretching a lariat between two trees, we 


managed to make a triangular covering, open at both ends 
and just wide enough to hold our party, provided no man 


required more than his length and breadth to lay upon. 

Under this we crept in our wet clothes, and many an 
impatient groan and exclamation, told how uncomfortable our 
quarters were, and how heartily we wished for morning. 

Conner and the Indians went to work, and in an in- 


credibly short space of time, constructed for themselves a 
tnost primitive but esccllent protection for the night. 

Selecting two small mesquite trees, growing near each 
other, they brought them together at top, to form the (loor> 
and then cutting poles, bent them in semicircles from the 
rear, all meeting in a point, at the top, and covering this frame 
^ith blankets and horse-cloths, forming a fac simile of an old 
fashioned gig top, under which they all lay till morning. Our 
sick man was here so ill that we were in doubts about being 
able to get him to camp. We slept restlessly and only from 
sheer fatigue, our misery made more complete, by the attacks 
of musquitoes, gnats, &c., who, like ourselves, seemed to have 
Bought shelter in our miserable tent. 

I realized this night what I had often read of, viz. : the 
delicious dreams of water and cooling beverages, persons who 
are suffering from thirst ezperience. I fancied myself eating 
ice cream, Eoman punch and sherbet, and revelled in their 
enjoyment, only to feel ten times more thirsty when I awoke. 

August 5th. — Morning dawned upon us with a clear 
unclouded sky, and its first streaks found us on our eastward 
march, glad to find relief even in the motion of our horses 
from the sufferings of the night. 

Much more rain had fallen in the section we reached after 
a ride of two hours, so that w^e began to find rain-water in all 
the holes and ravines we passed, and it is truly astonishing 
what a quantity of water the system can hold after a long 
deprivation ; canteen after canteen was emptied, and still 



whenever water appeared, each stroye to be first to reach it, 
and equally so with our animals, their thirst seemed 

In crossing a ravine I found a curious bush, the leaf and 
stalk like the willow, with branches of balls on the limbs, 
similar to the sycamore, some green, some white, and others 
deep maroon, the different stages of the maturity of the 
plant. Conner said it was the button willow, a medical plant 
used by the Indians in cases of dysentery. 

The plain was undulating and crossed at intervals by lime- 
stone ridges, timber mesquite ; the soil good and covered with 
a rich coat of buffalo grass. 

We saw many deer and wolves, and about ten, a. m., camo 
upoa a chain of lakes, seven in number, the largest about 
three hundreJ yards Ion- and twenty wide, the water clear 
and sweet, and filled with catfish and soft turtles. 

Here we nooned, dining off some deHcious catfish, cooked 
iu the Major's best style, whose kindness, in this respect, 
throughout our dreary journey, can never fade from our 

We fou 

which sur- 

prised us very much, as the banks of the lake wore steep 
and rocky, and no marshy ground or mud in the vicinity, 

V <J Q-*Mrv»jj *^'t^^.rip4U ^1-1%/ 

size of a common house-fly, and most inveterate blood suckers. 

I may remark here, that on the head waters of the Brazoa 

and Witchita. insent lifo (^ntii-c.!^ rV,,^ .._ _. i . ■ _ 


sparse as to be scarcely noticeable, a natural consequence 
of the barren and desolate character of that region. 

In the afternoon we changed our course north, towards 



clear water, could see the bed of the streams, perfect 
pavements of large slabs of limestones, smooth and jointed, 
as if done artificially. This occurring in every case made it 
remarkable and worthy of note. 

We reached the ridge and passed along the top, making a 
very long march, before we found, an hour after sunset, a most 
copious and beautiful limestone spring, which struck me so 
singularly that I have described it minutely. 

In a gentle undulation of the prairie, on the eastern side of 
the ridge, we found this sprmg, rising out of the ground and 
enclosed on three sides by a rectangular wall about four feet 


high; at the narrowest part about six feet wide, and in 
length about ten feet ; a small outlet emptied the overflow 
into an irregular pool, large enough to contain sufficient water 
for our thirsty animals, whilst we had the fountain for our- 

It was a surprise and almost like a dream, after the hard- 
featured country we had passed through, and our bivouac 
gave ample evidence of this cheering change in our circum- 
stances, for to crown all, a bright full moon shone over us. 
We forgot fatigue, hunger and thirst, and a very late hour 

found us enjoying song, joke and conversation, until drowsiness 



overtook us in the midst, when, wrapped in our blankets, a 
few honrs gave us refreshment for another ride, ' 

During our afternoon march, a rattlesnake of a new species, 
as we thought, appeared in our path, and struck the Doctor 
on the sole of his boot, whilst on horseback. It was dis- 
patched without ceremony, but in the hurry, so much mangled 
that we could do no more than take a general description of 
it. It was orange-colored on the belly, white ground and 
black marked in diamond upon the back, and had eight rattles. 
It was very vicious, making battle after it was badly wounded. 
This was the first time that auy one of our party had come 
near a catastrophe from this source ; a lucky escape ! 

August Gth.— At sunrise we again ascended the ridge, and 
marching in a north-east course along the top, found large 
herds of deer. The soil very fertile, and mesquite timber 
larger than any heretofore met with. The Doctor, attracted 


by tbe large quantities of gum exuding from tliese trees, col- 
lected several pounds of it, wliicli he intended to analyze. 

The tree is beyond doubt a species of acacia, the gum 
having the same appearance and taste of tlie gum-arabic, 
and exuding in sufficient quantities to warrant its collection 
as an article of commerce, which would make a useful and 
l)rofitable employment for the -jvanderiug Indians, if they 
•could be induced to turn their attention to it.* 

Soon the dividing ridge was found to be abruptly broken 


* Since our return, an finalysis baa been made, and the report to the War 


into a succession of bluEFs, and a beautiful viow spread before 

us. The Brazos iu tlie distance, numerous short rocky bluffs, 

opening -with vistas of mcsquite flats^ and our far off camp, 

-which we were all so anxious to reach, Ijing in a clump of 

elms, at a distance of twenty miles, discernible from our 
elevated position. 

We descended and wound through the openings in the 

■ bluffs for somfe miles, the soil very rich, grass and timber in 

abundance, until we came to a fine spring, shaded by a grove 

of button willow, near which was a Kickapoo camp of seventy 

lodges, making, with five to a lodge, three hundred and fifty 


They had just moved camp, and from the well-picked 
'bones and lack of stench or scraps about, must have been 


on very short allowance. 

A mile farther we struck a creek, winding its broad, clear 


^ w 

stream over a flat rocky bottom, and abounding in fish and 

4 4 * > 

soft turtles, a most inviting place so much so, that the 
Captain, immediately decided to move over here as soon 
after reaching our camp as possible. 

» ■ ■ 


departmcntj proves it to be equal to the gum arable, envelopes having heen 

sealed with it. 

The subject of employing the Indians, in collecting this gum, was seriouely 
entertained by gentlemen on the frontier when we left, and no doubt the 
experiment will be made and with every probability of profitable success^ as the 
immense quantity of mesquite trees in that region, cannot faU to afford an 
inexhau:itible supply, besides, whereaa now the gum only exudes, from acci- 
dentul openings in the bark, a system of bleeding, simnar to that pursued with 
the sugar maple, must produce corresponding results. 


Here for the first time I saw fish shot from horsehack. 
"Whilst the Major's horse was drinking an enormous cat- 
fish made his appearance, and lay still long enough to 
receive a bullet from his famous revolver, which had done 
such good service in ridding us of rattlesnakes during our 
trip. Conner told me he had frequently seen the Witchitas, 
and other Indians, spear fish on horseback. Their plan was 

for two or three to ride into the stream, armed with their 
spears, and as one became tired another took his place, until 
after chasing the fish from hole to hole, they worried them 
down and speared them with ease. Farther south, the 

Indians take large quantities of the electric eel, in the 
following way: 

The eel abounds in pools, A band of Indians, will drive 
their whole herd of horses and mules into a pool and keep 
them moving, the eels constantly striking their legs, until the 
supply of electricity is exhausted, when the fish becomes 
torpid and is easily taken. The philosophy of this is, that 
after a discharge of electricity from the fish, it requires some 
time for the electric function to restore itself to suDQcient 
vigor to act with efllect. 

The crossing, at this creek, being composed of one solid slab 
of limestone, smooth and level, the Captain called it Flat 
JRocJc Creek. 

We continued our course, very anxious to get to camp, as 
the sun was so intensely hot; thermometer one hundred and 
four degrees in the shade. 



difficult to pass through, on account of briars and scrub oaks, 
and about one, p. m., reached our camp, ten miles from where 
wc left it, the gentlemen in charge having moved to this 

L h 


point to get purer water, and were now encamped in a beau- 
tiful valley, surrounded by high bluflFg, on one of which was a 
Camanche grave. 


We found several cases of sickness in camp, and among the 
rest a bad case of black typhoid fever — the first severe case of 
any kind we had had since we had been out. 

And now having finished our perilous trip into those unex- 


plored and inhospitable regions, and returned ouce more to 
enjoy the few comforts we left behind us, but one opinion pre- 
vailed with us, viz, : that the dangers we encountered and the 
privations we suffered had not been in vain, establishing as 
they did the fact, that for all purposes of human habitation 

except it might be for a penal colony — those wilds are 
totally unfit. Destitute of soil, timber, water, game, and 
everything else that can sustain or make life tolerable, they 

must remain as they are, uninhabited and uninhabitable. 

Perhaps some use may be made of the mineral resources, 
but that will have to be done under a load of peril to life, that 
few will be willing to encounter, none to endure for any length 
of time. Our party certainly, having left them without regret, 
will never return to them, except in memory, and then in 
reminiscences too painful far to be pleasant. 

August 7th. — We moved camp at dawn of day to Flat 


Eock Creek, wliere the natural advantages formed for us by 
far the most inviting and pleasant resting place to recover 
from our fatigue and toil that we had had during our whole 


A grove of stately and gigantic elms lined the bank of the 
stream for a quarter of a mile. Under the trees grew a rich 
growth of wild rye. In front stretched a rolling prairie; our 
rear closed in and defended by the clear, deep waters of the 

In a semicircle in front, and springing from the two 
wings of camp, were parked our wagons to defend our front, 
enclosing a space in which to herd our oxen and tether our 
mules aod horses. Under the trees were pitched our white 
tents, a bright moon shining over all. Such was our camp 
at Flat Rock Creek, a cozy picture of safety and comfort, 
which to us, the returned vagabonds of the wilderness, had 


even more of romance than our late bivouacs had of reality. 

The stream was filled with catfish, eels and turtles. I 
caught three varieties of the latter, viz., the snapper, the soft 
shell and a black mud turtle, striped with yellow and red on 
the head, body and legs. Of these the soft turtle was best 
ana more delicate than the green turtle, either in soup or 
fricasee. It has an oval, dorsal shell — hard in the centre,, 
with a broad, soft rim. The umbilical shell is, like the green 
turtle, white. It has claws instead of flippers, but the most 
striking peculiarity is the head, terminated with a snout like 


a hog, about half an inch long. 


The whole surface of the stream was dotted at intervals 
"with these heads when the creatures came up to breathe, and 
as they bit readily at the hook, any quantity were taken. 

The catfish and eels were of the most marvellous size and 
delicacy, so that our stay here was si}ent in feasting to our 
heart's content on food which did not require a hungry man 
to relish, but which to us w^as doubly sweet after the priva- 
tions of the past. 

August 8th. — We remained quiet all day, enjoying our 
cool, breezy camp, and with the exception of a row among 
the teamsters, ending in one being badly wounded and his 
antagonist tied to a tree in the sun, the day passed pleas- 
antly, nor did we forget our usual evening concerts, now that 

the chorus was full. 

We retired early to prepare for our march to the Clear 

Fork in the morning, where we expected to meet the Ca- 
jnanches, and anticipated an interesting time. 




. — Great change.— Accident to Train —Jacobs 

. — Jackson 

tum-e-see and wives. — Talk held. — Camp at Double Mountam Fork. — Chief 
and wives leave. — Large Cactus met with.— Roach the Clear Fork. — Stem's 
Rancho.— Indian Justice.— Camp on Clear Fork. 

August 9th, — We marched early and left our late pleasant 

camp in flames behind u3. The tall rye and rank grass 
made a fierce and rapid conflaj^ration, which for days after- 
wards we could trace by the smoke on the horizon. 

The day proved most intensely hot, and to our disappoint- 
ment water was very scarce ou our route. About noon, a 
pool of tepid water was discovered in a ravine, and as the 
prairie liad been very much broken, making hard work for 
the oxen, many of which gave out, and one dropped dead, 
. the Captain concluded to halt and encamp until next 
morning. We camped upon a hill very hot and dry, and had 
scarcely got settled when the prairie took fire, and was 
extinguished with difficulty, making warm work for a hot 

The contrast to our stay at Flat Eock Creek was far from 
pleasant, but we had become so accustomed to take it (to use 
a trite expression,) rough and tumble, that our spirits were 


not much affected. We all seemed determined to enjoy the 
fat wheu we could get it, and to be happy when we had to 
put up with the lean. 

Though deer were plenty and the Delawarcs kept our 
larder well supplied, still we passed an uncomfortable after- 
noon and a more uncomfortable night, as insects were nurae- 
rous and annoying. 

August 10th.— We marched at two a. m.— the prairie very 
rough, broken and almost bare of grass. Soon an accident 
occurred to the train, when Jacobs gave us a specimen of 


the nerve and reliability of the Indian upon his own powers 
and sagacity. 

Our anxiety to hear from home and friends induced us 
at Flat Eock Creek, to prevail upon him to go into Fort 
Belknap, mail letters sent by him, and bring us what 
might be there. 

Never having been in this country before, he would have 
to depend upon powers which, with Indians, seem to me to 
be instinct more than calculation. He consented to go, but 


proposed to march with us until daylight this morning. The 
accident detaining us some time, he became impatient, and 
suddenly wheeled his horse at a tangent, and grunting out, 
half in soHloquy, "May be so he too long," disappeared in 
the gloom, to our left. On the afternoon of the tenth day 
from this date, he made his appearance in our camp on the 
Clear Fork, seventy-five miles from this point, bringing our 

letters, papers, &c., from Fort Belknap, where he arrived on 



the fonrth clay after he left us, having found his way there 
and back through this trackless wilderness as true as the 
needle to the Pole. Surely, what life can be more calculated 
to harden the frame and steel the nerves^ than this one of 
such bold self-reliance. 

One of our Delawares, Jackson, amused us very much during 


our ride. He had always appeared to us demure and morose 


in temperament, but to our surprise and amusement he broke 
out with one of our camp-fire songs, which, requiring a good 
deal of action, made it very ludicrous, the whole performance 
proving to me my before-formed opinion, that the Indian is 
far from being the non-observant creature he is supposed to 
be. The tone, the manner, and gesticulation of the original 
of this song, were expressed, though somewhat in broad bur- 
lesque, yet sufficiently accurate to prove a quick perception 
of the ridiculous and close imitative powers. 

Shortly after daylight we reached a deep, broad bed of a 
creek, which requiring heavy work to bridge, we halted and 

Our amateur sportsmen started in pursuit of game, and 
found the creek full of deep water, a mile below camp, and 
plenty of catfish, gar, and soft turtle. ' 


A new species of gar was seen here, of a deep, shiny black 
colour, the shape, size, kc,, the same as the grey gar. 

About noon, Indians were seen approaching, and pretty 
soon Ke-tum-e-see, a chief of the Southern band of Camanches 
rode in, accompanied by two of his wives. He told us that he 


had been riding very hard and far to OTcrtake us. He heard 
we Tvcreia the country, and endeavoured to persuade some of 


his band to visit us, but they were too lazy, so he determined 
to come alone, and had been six days on our trail, foHowino- 
it through a good portion of the Upper Brazos country, 
where, like ourselves, he came near perishing for want of 

- In addition, he gave us the agreeable inielligence, that a 
war party of two hundred and fifty northern Caraanches, 
Apaches and Navajoes, had been hovering around us, 
between the Big Witchita and Brazos for two da}^. 

They were on a foray to the frontier of Mexico, to take 
revenge for some of their bands, shot whilst on one of their 
marauding expeditions last year, and coming across our trail, 
followed it until reconnoitering and finding but thirteen in 
our party, they hesitated to attack us, feeling sure that a 


large command must be in the neighborhood, as they could 
not believe that so small a force of white men would venture 
so far into their fastnesses, unless supported at short 
distance by a large party- — so that the order of things was 
reversed, in our case, and in our weakness, we found our 
immunity from annihilation. 

'We felt much obliged to them for their forbearance, and on 
questioning him further, found out the night when they were 
nearest us. It was the night when th^ gentlemen of the 
party were on guard, and we all had remarked how unusually 
restless our horses and mules were, a sure sign of danger near. 



Ke-tum-e-see, was a fiue-looking man, about fifty years old, 
fall six feet liigli, with a dark red bronze complexion. 

His wives — (these were two, and the youngest of four, 
whom he commanded) were mere children, the one about 
eighteen and the other not sixteen years old. 

Both were pleasing in their appearance, but entirely dif- 


ferent ; the youngest being chubby and dark, the eldest lean 
and as fair as a quadroon, "Whether it was by accident or 
from choice that the chief had made his selection, I know not, 
perhaps, a spice of both, though he gave us to understand he 
was quite an epicure in such matters. 

An odd mixture of wealth and poverty, marked this trio. 
Kc-tum-e-see was dressed in corduroy leggins and buckskin 


moccasins, much worn, an old, torn, greasy, clieckered 
cotton coat, and a sixpenny straw hat, whilst his bridle was 
ornamented with perhaps ffhj dollars tooriJi of silver. 

His wives were attired in dark calico shirts, with leggings 
and moccasins in one piece, like a boot; their clothes thin, 
dirty and common, and heads bare ; the hair short, thick and 
uncombed, whilst their bridles were similarly ornamented as 
the chief's ; and the youngest, who appeared to be the favorite, 
wore in addition, 'a girdle studded with silver brooches, very 
heavy, showy and costly. The wives rode astride, driving the 
pack horses, who bore their scanty stock of cooking utensil?, 
blankets, skins, tc, and as soon as they arrived, set diligently 


to work to unsaddle, nnbridle and lariat the horses, and make 
from bushes and blankets a temporary shelter for their lord: 

THE TALK. 181 

^ The chief threw aside his riding dress and came up to our 
tent to dine, " in puris naturalibus/' except his red blanket. 
The only ornament or appendage he wore was a long tail of 
buffalo hair, depending from a bunch of eagle's feathers, 
fastened on the crown of his head, and reaching in a four-fold 
plait to the ground ; a mark of his rank in the tribe. In 
eating, drinking and smoking, he appeared very abstemious, 
but this turned out to be " for the nonce." lie wrote (or at 
least copied) our names, and told Conner, who was interpreter, 
to tell the captain, that when the sun went down, he wanted 
to talk. 

In the afternoon the elder of the wives visited us and 
interested us very rpuch by her simplicity and curiosity. A 
burning glass, compass and magnet were shown her, and her 
delight knew no bounds, until finally the old chief, either 
fearing she might learn too much, or from jealousy, ordered lier 
away, in a short gruff tone, and retired himself to his 
shealing. At sun-down he returned for the talk. After a 
smoke he commenced, holding in his hand a bundle of sliort 
stalks of grass. Handing these, one by one, to the Captain, 


he made his remarks upon each, representing by each, one of 

the chiefs or war captains of his band, and giving his dispo- 

sition towards the whites. After remarking upon four of 

high standing, ani three of mediocrity, he bundled the 

balance, eight in number, in a bundle, and handed them 

together, with a grunt and remark, " no count," He then 

expressed himself as nnxious to come into any measures pro- 




posed by Captain Marcy ; swore eternal friendsliip for the 
■wliites, and ended by volunteering to return and indnce his 
people, by all means, to meet us on tlie Clear Fork. Another 
smoke all round, and the talk closed ; the chief went to his 
shealing, and we to repose, after our early start and hot day, 

■thermometer one hundred and four in the shade. 

August 11th. — At one, a. nf., we were on the march again, 
and moving very slowly on account of the roughness of the 

Ke-tum-e-see and wives marched with us, intending to 
spend the day, and leave in the morning for the camp of his 


Arriving at Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, we found 
so much work to be doue, in bridging, that orders were given 
to encamp. 

The heat was intense, the thermometer, at nine a. m., one 
hundred and five degrees in the shade, the stream was full of 
fish and turtles, so that those who chose to brave the heat, had 
fine sport. 

We saw but little of the chief and his wives, as they were 
/ resting all day. A general lassitude also pervaded our camp, 

from early rising, long marches and intense heat, so that the 
day passed quietly. 

During our marcli, we found plenty of the missUtoe oa the 
Mesquite trees; we found limestone and iron ore in abund- 
ance, the timber, elra, mesquite, wild china, and post oak. 

August 12th.— As early as usual we wore in motion, and 

miCKLY PEAR. 183 

passed the Double Mount ain Fork, entering imraediately, 
upon a very fertile region, alternately with mesquite flats and 
limestone ridges. 

The chief and his wives, left us^ in true wild Indian style 
"sans ceremonie," They had been riding in advance of the 
train, and suddenly wheeling to the right disappeared over a 
ridge, without turning to say good bye, or give any other signal 
of their intention. 

The day was intensely hot, thermometer one hundred and 
sis degrees, and we made a very long march, being anxious 

to get to the Clear Fork, for fear the Camanches if there, 


might get tired waiting, leave, and thus defeat our plans for 

In crossing a limestone ridge, an extensive prairie, spread 
out before us, covered as far as we could see, with a very 
rank growth of sunflower, a sure indication of a rich soil. 
Crossing this with difficulty, for it was so thick and tall that 
we had to force our horses through it, we came suddenly 
upon the road from Belknap to Chadbourne, and marching in 
a northerly direction encamped about seven miles from the 
Clear Fork, near two pools of tolerable water. 

On this prairie were some gigantic growths of the prickly 
pear. Some we passed wei^e fifteen feet high and forty in 
circumference, of the broad palmated species. 

In New Mexico, this plant is used as a most nutritious and 
excellent food for stock. It is cut with a hooked knife (made 
on purpose and fastened on a long handle,) and laid in layers 


with dry coarse grass between, the whole then set fire too, 
when a few minutes deprives the plant of its thorny prickles, 
and it is then eaten with great avidity by stock; an 
excellent substitute in a country where grass is so scarce. 
Immense flocks of doves covered the plain, attracted by 

the seeds of the sunflowers, and we shot numbers for our moss 


: August 13th,— At an early hour we reached the Clear Fork, 
which, at the crossing, was about thirty yards wide, running 
through perpendicular rocky banks over a rocky bed, the 
water beautifully clear and the valley of the Clear Fork about 
a mile wide. • 


To our surprise, on ascending the opposite bank, the road 
wound through a large field of oats on one side and corn on 


the other, and in the distance, we saw a house, the first we 
had seen for near three months— it carried us back to home 
and friends. In this soUtary spot, Colonel Stem, late Indian 
agent, established this rancho, about three years since. The 
corn and oats were put in with the labour of eight men, and 
by simply turning over a furrow with the plough, no necessity 
for harrowing or pulverizing. The crop sold, in the ground, 

for forty-five 'hundred dollars, a proof of the fertility of the 

The Colonel, on his return from his rancho in February, 
1854, in company with a friend, was murdered by a wandering 
party of Kickapoos ; they shot at them, but missing, clubbed 
their rifles and beat them to death, then stealing what was 


most valuable, made tlieir escape. This occurrod "witliiii Icn 
miles of Fort Eelknap. 

The punishment of these murderers is an instance of the 
manner in which justice is done among these barbarous people. 
From information given by a boy who was with the Indians 
at the time the murders were committed, the commanding 
officer at Fort Arbuckle sent for the Kickapoo chiefs, and 

told them the murderers must be given up, at the same time 
a large reward was offered for their apprehension. 

The chiefs told him that they had been in council all night 
upon the matter ; that they knew the murders were committed 
by two of their band, who were absent on assembling the men 
of the tribe, and that they had sent their people out by threes 
in search, so that any person meeting one Kickapoo alone, or 
two in company, might immediately arrest him or them. In 
a short time one of the murderers was arrested by his own 


people, firmly bound, and placed on horseback to be taken 
into the fort A short distance from that place, he managed 
to free himself from his bonds, and throwing himself from the 
horse attempted to escape, but was immediately shot down 
and his dead body carried in and delivered to the officer in 
" command. The other made his escape, but after eluding 
pursuit for a time made his way to a village where his 
brother lived. Entering this, he commenced exclaiming in & 
loud voice, "I am the murderer of Colonel Stem, will no one 
take me and deliver me up for punishment?" In this way he 


reached his brother's lodge, entering which, he said, "My 


brother, I committed this murder. I am tired of life, I am 
hunted down like a wild beast, and I want to die. I tried to 
join the Camanches, but would have starved to death before 
I could have found them." Food was set before him, of 
'Which he partook. His brother and he then walked out of 
the village, when the former said to him, "My brother, you 
have disgraced our tribe, and it is my duty to kill you. I 
have all along told you that your course of life would lead 
you to this, and however painful it may be to me, yet justice 
demands the sacrifice, I must kill you." Stepping behind 
him he then felled him to the earth with his tomahawk, and 
with repeated blows despatched him. A council was then 
held, at which the brother made a speech, stating what he 
had done, and why, ending by calling for a volunteer to 
behead the body and take the head into the fort, as the dis- 
tance was too great and the weather too hot to take the 
whole corpse. No one volunteering, he 'then said, "I must 
do it myself," which he did, and carried the head to Fort 
Arbuckle, where it was buried. Such is Indian justice. 

We passed the rancho and encamped about a mile below, 
intending to wait for the Camanches, who had not yet arrived. 
Soon after encamping, Ke-tum-e-see again made his appear- 
ance. He said he had concluded not to take his wives with 
liim, as it was uncertain where he should find his band, and 
they might have a long ride-a rare instance of consideration 
in a wild Indian. He left them in charge of Connor, and 
started in course of the afternoon. 


Our camp was very coiivGiiicnt and picturesque. A level 
prairie, bounded on the west by a range of bluffs, extended for 
about six miles in len^^tla and half a mile wide. 

We were encamped on the eastern edge, about one hundred 
feet above the Clear Fork, between which and us was a low 
valley, shaded by noble pecan and elm trees, where the mess 
fires were lighted, and the Delawares made their camp. 

The prairie was destitute of timber, but very breezy, and 
free from insects. 



Our wagons were parked in a large semicircle in front, and 
with the valley and river in our rear, we were secure from 
attack. A large and cool spring percolated from the bank a 
short distance below our camp, and, with the fish and turtles 
from the stream, we had a very good time during our stay, 
which was a long one. 

Several deserted camps were scattered over the valley, 
showing this to be a favourite spot with the wild Indians, and, 
in roaming around, I picked up beads and other relics. 

The stream afforded dehghtful bathing ground, which we 
availed ourselves of during our stay, and could now roll up in 
our blankets at night, with the comfortable assurance of no 
more early starts and long rides, under that blazing sun, for 
some days — a great relief, with the thermometer averaging 
one hundred and four degrees daily, the nights, as usual, 
always pleasant, and seeming as if made for sleep. 




Sub-chiofs arrive.— Incidents with the chiefs.— Story of the Gorman setUemcnt- 
—Exploring the country.— Se-na-co and party arrive.— Descri|iUoa of the 


. — Camanche 

Indians —Toilette of the men described. —Indian dance.— Bresping skins. 

Council held.— Presents distributed.— "Women bathing.— Plan of hardening 

horses' hoofs.— Little Mexican.— Indians leave.- Remarks upon traders.— 

New species of Squirrels.— Ke-tum-c-sce and the invalid.— Excitement in camp 
Move camp. 

AuGrsT 14th.— When Major Neighbours sent out runners 
to the Camanchcs, he intimated to them the plans of the 
gorernment, and they in reply expressed their wish to be set- 
tled upon the Clear Fork, as it was their old hunting and win- 
tering ground. Ke-tum-e-see having corroborated this state- 
nient— preparations were immediately made to explore in the 
vicinity of camp, but about ten, a. m., just as the party were 
about to start, two sub-chiefs of Se-na-co's band rode in to 
hold a talk. Their names were Qua-ha-wc-tah, or tall tree, 
and Oti, or hunting a wife. The latter was by birth a Tonka- 
way, but was taken prisoner by the Camanchcs when a child; 
he had adopted their habits and tribe, and become a chief 
among them. Both were tall, powerful, athletic men, very 
savage in their appearance, scantily dressed, and fully 

OTi. 189 

painted. They rode into camp barelicaded, with unihrcUas 
hoisted, an incident which occasioned some merriment. 

Previous to holding the talk, they improved their toilette, 
when I perceived what gave Oti his more than usually dia- 
bolical appearance, which I could not account for before on 
account of the load of paint with which his face was covered. 
Producing a small looking glass and a pair of rude tweezers, 
which he used with great dexterity, he proceeded to pull out 
every hair he could find upon his face. His hair on his head 
•was cropped close, except the crown tuft, from whicli de- 
pended Iiis buffalo hair i)lait, and commencing at the roots of 
the hair on his forehead, he pulled out eyebrows, eyelashes, 
beard, &c., and then smearing the whole with yellow clay, 
streaked his eyelids with yermillion, spotted his cheeks with 
the same, and finished by daubing his chin with black, making 
a most hideous. specimen out of himself in a very short time. 
The other was not so particular, but with his matted hair, 
hooked nose, and wide mouth, was ugly enough without any 
effort to increase it. 


They held their talk, and told us that we must not believe 
Ke-tum-e-see, that he was a liar and a scoundrel, and that 
they would go off and bring in Se-na-co, who alone was 
authorized to speak for the tribe ; they said the tribe was 
friendly, and would accede to the proposed settlement. 
Rations were then served to them, and thoy passed the night 
under the trees in the valley, intending to leave early in the 




In the course of the afternoon Oti asked me for'some sugar 
from the dish stauJIiig on our camp-table; and as our stock 
was smallj I took out several large lumps and offered them. 
He shook his head and walked off*, apparently angry. Pretty 
soon he returned, and pointed again to the dish. I nodded' 
my head, and he deliberately poured the whole into his bag. 
The same thing happened with their rations; they refused 
them, and the commissary-corporal immediately reported the 
case to the Captain, who told him to double them; this was 
done, and they took them at once. 

August 15th. — On coming out this morning, I was surprised 
to find the chiefs stilllingering around camp, although having 
saddled up their horses. I found out that they had seen 
some whiskey and wanted to get it. Both were armed with 
bows and arrows in addition to their rifles. ' I tried to barter 
fur a bow, quiver and arrows, offering goods and money to 
much more than their value, but no, they would trade for 
nothing but whiskey, and upon my offering it, (which I 
did to try them,) were willing to give their bows and arrows 
for a bottle full. 

Conner told me that this was their way, if they want any- 
thing, they must have it, let it cost what it will. He said he 
once got a mule, which he afterwards sold for///// dollars, ^ox 
a plug of tobacco, and, as I have observed before, I could 
readily have got the two bows, quivers and arrows, for a short 
quart ofwldshey. They care nothing about money, as they 
cannot use it, all they think of is the gratificatiuu of their 





appetite, even if this, as in this instance, should cost tliem the 
very means by whicli they sustain life. As I wouki not give 
them the whiskey, they mounted and rode off looking very 
glum and disappointed. 

Conner told me that it was bat a short time since the Ca- 
manches would drink whiskey, always refusing it and saying 
that it made fools of them and they did not like it, but a 
colony of Germans settled upon the upper waters of the 
Canadian, and from frequently visiting them the appetite has 
been^ acquired, by occasional indulgences, and now is quite 
prevalent among them. 

, He related a strange tale connected with this German 
settlement, which altliough savoring so much of the marvel- 
lous, I am obliged to believe, from his earnest asseverations 
of its truth, and my own observations upon the character 
of the wild Indians. 

Shortly after the German emigration, a wild Camancho 
who had never seen them, met one in the prairie. The Ger- 
man wore his full beard, which with his hair was long and 
shaggy. Surprised at this unusual sight, the Indian shot him 
and skinned his wliole head, the skin having been afterwards 
found in his possession, preserved and shown as a specimen 
of an unfound race of men. 

Notwithstanding this bloody stretch oi curiosity, Conner 
said that the Germans and Indians lived on terms of great 


amity, the former treating them with great hospitality when- 
ever they visited the settlement, and a very straight road to 


a wiia Tudian's heart is tlirougli Ms stomach, as they are 
always ready to eat and drink. 

August IGth and 17th were spent in explorations to find 
a suitable tract to be surveyed for the location of the Ca- 
manches, and finally one was selected about three miles 
farther up the stream from our camp, comprising every 
essential of upland and meadow, with fine water and timber, 
the amount of laud necessary being six square leagues. 

August 18th.— Se-na-co and his party arrived to-day. He 
was very prepossessing in his appearance, about five feet 
eight inches in height, not stout, but his frame firmly knit, 
very dark complexion, With a countenance mild but decided. 
He dressed without any ornament, and iu this respect was a 
great contrast to his followers. 

With him came Qua-ha-we-ti and Oti, the chiefs who had 
previously visited us, and Naroni, or lit tie piece of meat tJiroicn 
over a pole, and Straight-fellow, two war captains, besides a 
large party of warriors, women and children. 

A very interesting woman accompanied this party. She 
was -the widow of San-ta-na, a celebrated chief who died 
about three years since, and still mourned her loss, goin 
out every evening iu the neighborhood of camp, to howl and 
cry and cut herself with knives, according to the custom 
among them of persons in affliction. She had separated her- 
self in a measure from the tribe, and formed a band of 
women, seven in number, like herself widows. She owned 
a large herd of mules and horses, and was a most successful 


hunter, having alone shot with her rifle fifteen deer in a 
morning's hunt. She was a fine looking woman, an Amazon 
in size and haughty bearing, rode astride, and dressed in 
deep black.. 

There wa^ an invalid in the party, a chief, crippled with 
rheumatism and disease of the spine, drawn into a sittin 
posture by his ailments, emaciated to a skeleton, and a most 
pitiable sight, particularly distressing to us from our know- 
ledge of the hardships and privations suffered by them in 

their wandering life. 

The poor creature was perched upon a rude contrivance 
of sticks lashed on a horse, and bolstered with bags of grass, 
with a blanket and circingle passed over and around the 
whole to keep him steady, and having the feeble use of his 
hands, he. guided the horse without assistance. A rude 
litter accompanied him, upon which he could ride durino- 

^ - L 

heat and.,exh2iistion. This was constructed by lashinfr lono- 

* y" 

poles to either side of a mule, leaving the ends trailing upon 


the ground. Cross sticks were lashed upon the trailing ends, 
and skins s]ung_ to these made the bed, and by the addition 
of two poles bent in semicircles and fastened diagonally over 
the bed, a shelter from the sun was made by covering them 
with green branches. 

He had a slave to lead or drive the mule and lift him back 

and forth. This was a boy about sixteen, a Mexican, taken 

prisoner in some foray, dressed and painted like an Indian, 

and apparently quite recoaciled to his degraded life, tho 




■ftliole forming a wretcliecl picture of misery and poverty, 
mixed with considerable ingenuity and contrivance. 

Naroni rode in in grand costume. He wore an old blue 
military coat, with tarnished epaulettes, and covered with bul- 
let buttons, a -wampum necklace, almost equal to a breast- 
plate, numerous ear-rings, finger-rings, and a large ring in his 
nose, completely encircling his mouth, and bright red leggins. 

But his crowning glory was his head-dress. From the crown 
of his head started out four long eagle's feathers, two on each 
side. To the centre was attached his buffalo hair plait, stud- 
ded, at intervals of an inch or two, with enormous silver 
medallions, of an oval shape, and at least four inches in largest 
diameter. This plait swept the ground, and he seemed to set 


great store by it, as nothing would induce him to part with 
one of the ornaments. A rifle and bow, quiver and arrows, 
completed his costume and equipments ; but being slender in 
figure and short in stature, his appearance was not at all 

Straightfellow was very miserably clad, dirty and ragged, 

with a very forbidding countenance, indicative of cunning and 

The women were ugly, crooked-legged, stoop-shouldcrcd, 
squalid and dirty, with haggard and prematurely old connte- 
nances, their hair cropped close to their head^^; and with scarce 
a rag to cover their nakedness. 

They led, or rfrove ofi; the pack-horses and mules into the 
valley, and soon all was life" and bustle— some cutting down 


green limbs to construct their temporary shelter, some build- 
ing fires, cooking, &c., and others unsaddling, unpackiDg, '■^. > 
watering and tethering their animals. 

Some of the visiters made their shealings on the prairie ^ 

above us, so that, in a little "while, "sve ^ere surrounded by these 
T^'ild creatures. Among these was a warrior armed with a 
lance and shield. The lance was a long, straight piece of steel, 
about two feet and a half long and an inch ^^'ide, tapering to a 

point. This was fixed into a slender handle of bois d'arc, 
about four feet and a half long, making the weapon seven feet 
in length; the handle ornamented with tufts of coloured cot- 
ton yarn and strips of cloth worked with beads. 

The shield was round, and about two feet in diameter, 
made of wicker-work, covered first with deer skins and then 
a tough piece of raw buffalo-hide drawn over, making it proof 
against arrow-heads. It was ornamented with a Jiumcm scalp, 


a grizzly bears claw and a mule's tail, significant of the 
brave warrior and successful hunter and horse-thief, and the 
fastenings for the arm were pieces of cotton cloth twisted 

into a rope. 

During their stay, we endeavoured to get this man to show 
US his exercise with these weapons, but he peremptorily 
refused, and this I understood is universal with them, a proof 
of their cunning. 

These Indians had plenty of horses and mules, but generally 
a very inferior stock, the rest of their camp material was 
meagre and scanty in the extreme. 


August 19th. — The first thing wild Indians ask for on 
coming into camp, is something to eat^ they are always ready 
and consume large quantities. 

The Captain had an ox killed for them this morning, and 
the women were soon busy in preparing it for present and 
future use* Every edible part was consumed, even the 
entrails, which are considered a choice delicacy, were drawn 
through the coals and devoured, reeking with excrement. 

The women boned the flesh and then split it, haggling and 
carving it into long chains of lumps and then throwing it over 
poles, dried it in the sun, ivhon it looked like links of stale 
sausaf^e. The caul, suet, and other inside fat, were dried 

whole, and the cannon bones and hoofs first scorched before 

the fire and then hung up in the sun. 
The portions of meat intended for present use, were pre- 

pared by placing them upon a rude scaffold over a slow fire, 
in the same way as previously described among the Kicka- 
poos, and which I have seen done by the frontier squatters. 
It dries the meat, without depriving it of its juices, and pre- 
vents decomposition. A supply of corn from the rancho above 


US, together with some coflFee and sugar, capped the climax 
of their happiness, and their bivouac wore a very cheerful 
appearance during the day. 

The men of the party spent the day in painting themselves 
and lounging in their shealiugs, or wandering listlessly from 
tent to tent, expressing either surprise or pleasure by a grunt 
or a grin. 



The intense Lent— fhermometor one hnndrcd and six 
degrees— canscd them to denude themselves entirely, except 
the breech-cloth, so that with the yellow, black and red 
paint, they presented a motley appearance. 

They parted their hair from the centre of the forehead 
back to the crown, and made a streak of yellow, white or 
red, along the divide, a custom in which they were greatly 
assistefl by large beds of yellow and white clay, which they 
discovered in the valley some distance down the stream, 
I could not discover whether each had a distinct style of 
daubing himself, but suppose this to be the case, as all wore 

A fat, chubby faced warrior, painted a fac simile of a saw 
around his jaws in black, his cheeks red, his eye-lids white, 
and his forehead and divide of his hair yellow, smearing his 


body aIso,with yellow. 

The invalid painted his face red, his eyelids white atid 

streaked Tils face with black, like a ribbed nose babboon. 
Anoffier painted one side black and the other yellow, con- 
tinuing the process down to his waist. Another daubed 
yellow on one side and red on the other, his eyelids white and 
streaks of black upon his checks, in imitation of snakes. The 
boys also painted themselves; and several of the women had 
cheeks and hair stained with red. In short, all that savage 


fancy could do to increase savage ugliness was done, and a 
more diabolical, and at the same time ludicrous set, it would 
be hard to meet with. 


About nine at night several of theni collected upon tlie 


prairie to sing and dance. Seated on the ground ia a circle, 
the leader commenced drumming upon a tin mess pan, accom- 
panied with a low, guttural, monotonous chaunt, at intervals 
raising his voice louder, ■v\^hen a general grunt or a yell "was 
added by the rest, and the whole strain ended with a pro- 
longed ugli. 

They sung for more than an hour, occasionally two or throe 
throwing their arms up and hopping around like what chil- 
dren call playing at frogs, ending by seating themselves again 
"with a grunt, 

I soon tired of the scene, which by the light of a low fire 
looked more like a parcel of monkeys at dull play than any 
thing else. Their audience of teamsters and soldiers, how- 
ever, seemed greatly pleased, and as a novelty it was some- 
what interestin<j, 

August 20,— The usual morning toilette was gone through 
^vith by the men, but the intense heat— one hundred and five 
degrees in the shade ~ kept all quiet in and about ^amp, 
except the women, some of whom were unusually busy, con- 
spicuous among whom were the two wives of the chief Ke- 

Our Delawares took the opportunity to have their deer 
skins— of which they had accumulated quite a large bale 
dressed by these women, and the process was very simple but 
rapid. Having soaked the skins thoroughly, they threw them 
over a smooth log leaned against a tree at an angle, and then 


taking a rib of a deer in both hands, removed the hair by 
scraping it against the grain ; they then stretched and dried 


them, when they became beautifully soft and white. To 
color them, they tied several into a chimney shape, hung to 
a limb, and building smoulder fires under them they soon 

changed to yellowish brown on the hair side, and light 
yellow on the flesh side. 

Great apprehensions were entertained that Ke-tum-e-see 
had been waylaid and murdered, as he was absent so long, but 
about noon he rode in, and gave as a reason for his delay that 
he had spent the time in endeavoring to persuade his followers 
to come in, but without success. His two wives ran to meet 
him, and seemed quite overjoyed at his arrival, most probably 
because he had left them entirely among strangers, as I 
cannot imagine any affection in the case. 

At dusk the chiefs were assembled in council, and seated 
on the ground around the light of candles and lanterns, pipes 
were smoked, and Captain Marcy addressed them, through 
Conner, the interpreter. 

Captain Marcy told them "that he had seen their Great 
Father in '^Vashington, and he had sent him out to locate and 
survey lands for them, that they might have homes and learn 
to cultivate the soil and no longer lead the uncertain life they 
did; that buflfalo had disappeared from these plains and deer 
and other game were fast disappearing ; that in a few years 
they and their children would have to resort to some other 

means than the chase for a subsiolence ; that they would not 




t , 


be permitted to depredate upon the wliite settlements, and 
there was uo alternative — they must learu to cultivate the 


He told them "that their Great Father would send them 
agricultural implements and seeds, also men to teach theiu 

to farm, and that he would provide for them until a 
crop was raised. That he — Captain Marcy — had been 
among tribes in the North, who once lived as they Averb 
living, but who, on advice, had learned to cultivate the soil, 
and were now living like the whites, with plenty to eat and - 
wear. That if they would do as their Great Father wished 
them, they would have reason to thank him in a few years. 
That an agent would be sent to reside among them, and with 
the assistance of the United States' troops would see that 
they were not molested by white men, or other wild Indians 
if they remained friendly. 

Se-na-co rose and replied, speaking in a slow^ distinct and 
impressive tone, using but little gesticulation, but repeatedly 


placing his hand upon his heart. He said, *'The chiefs and 
head men of the Southern Camanches have authorized me to 


reply to the talk which our Great Father has sent us by our 
friend, Captain Marcy, 

_ w 

'* What I am about to say will be straight-forward and the 
truth, and the sentiment of all my people. 

"AVe remeinber what our former chief, Mo-ko-cho-pc told 


VLB before he die4j,.and we endeavor to carry out his wishes . ^ 


^ ^ 



SA-NA-CO. 201 

after he is gone. He visited our Great Father at WasLiii 
ton, and brought us a talk from him. 

"He told us to take the advice and example of the whites, 
and it would make us happy and benefit us. 

"We are glad to hear the talk which has been sent us at 
this time ; it makes our hearts warm, and we feel happy in 
knowing that our Great Father remembers his poor red chil- 
dren on the prairies, 

" We accept this talk, and will endeavour to accede to all 
our Great Father requires of us, 

"I am pleased to see our friend, Captain Marcy, once more. 
I well remember seeing him five years since, near this very 
place, when I stayed over night with him, and have often 
inquired of the whites T have met, what had become of him, 
and I was much pleased when I was told he was to meet us 


He stopped, seated himself, and many questions were put to 
him, which he answered freely and favourably. 

All this time Ke-tum-e-see sat like a statue, glum and silent, 
evidently displeased at not having been spokesman. 

Although he and Se-na-co expressed themselves anxious to 
meet the views of the government, they were evidently afraid 
of their followers, and we anticipated that much perplexity 
might arise from this cause. 

The presents — consisting of printed cottons, handkerchiefs, 

blankets, knives, stroudding for leggins, armlets of silver, long 



wampum beads, paint, &c., — were now handed in bulk to the 
chiefs, and, after another smoke, the council closed. 

August 21st. — This morning the chiefs distributed the 
presents, and great delight was manifested, particularly 
among the squaws^ who kept up a continuous chattering. 

It requires a good deal of knowledge of Indian fancies to 
select presents with judgment. Different tribes have differ- 
ent tastes. The northern Indians like gay clothing and 
blankets, ear-rings, brooches and beads of bright colours. 
The Camanches prefer dark clothes and heavy silver armlets, 
and long wampum beads, both the latter being verj' expen- 
sive, particularly the wampum beads, which are to be pro- 
cured but in one place, a small town in New Jersey.* 

Our stock of presents was very well selected, so that all 
were pleased and spent the rest of the day in painting and 
bedizening themselves, making many a funny show. 

I surprised a party of women whilst they were bathing 
in the stream at mid-day, or rather they surprised me, as 
they bathed along side of the road and in sight of camp. I 
observed, however, that they showed great dexterity in 
avoiding unnecessary exposure. Wrapping blankets around 
themselves, they entered the stream where a tree or bush 

* "Wampum is made of the thick and blue part of sea clam-sheUs. The thin 
covering of this part being spHt off, a hole is drined in it, and the form is 
produced and the pieces made smooth hy a grindstone. The form is that of the 
ejlindrical glaffl beadii caUcd bugles. When finished they are strung upon 
smaU hempen cordis about a foot long. In the manufacture of wampum from 
six to ten strings are coneidered a day*g work. 

ARTKMiiJA. 203 

stood or hung convcnieut for them to place their blankets ou 

so soon as they were immersed, and thus avoided exposure 
almost entirely. 

The Camauches are very fond of bathing, both men and 
women, but cleanliness is only partially promoted by it, as 
they are either unable or neglect to change their clothing, 
but wear it in a filthy state. 

The women observed the same modest caution in mount- 
ing their horses. They rode astride, and like all Indians 
mounted upon the right side of the horse. Drawing the 
left foot up, after placing the right in the stirrup, they 
extended it over the saddle at right angles to the right, 
instead of describing the arc of a circle, performing the feat 


and seating themselves with much ease and grace. This 
fact was common to all the females we met. 

Towards sunset I observed one of the Chiers wives lead- 
ing a horse and mule slowly backwards and forwards through 
a slow fire, which scattered over quite a large bare spot of 
ground, made a dense white smoke without flame, and at the 
same time I was sensible of an aromatic perfume proceeding 
from the valley. Upon inquiry, I found it v**as the process 
of hardening the hoofs by exposing them to the smoke and 
vapour of the wild rosemary^artemisia — ^large quantities of 
which grew in the valley of the Clear Fork, 

August 22d. — A little Mexican made his appearance 
among the Indians this morning, dressed in a gay dressing- 
gown and pantaloons, and was immcdiatelv recoCTized bv 



the Captain as a worthy he had seen during his Red Eiver 
trip among the Witchitas. At that time, the Captain asked 
him why he did not leave the Indians and go home among 
his own people. He replied, "Me bin so long mong 
Witchitaj me lie, me steal horse good as any, me big rascal, 

same as "Witchita." 

If an honest confession is good for the soul, this certainly 
was a case iu point, if there is any truth in physiognomy, 
for a more cunning rascally countenance no one ever saw. 

He rode off in company with some of the party when they 
left, having succeeded in getting a handkerchief and some 
other articles, either by begging or stealing. 

Se-na-co and some of the chiefs, with their followers, left us 
during the day, shaking hands all round and apparently very 
friendly. They had dined and supped with us several times, 
behavhig with great decorum, sitting at table and using 
knives and forks, but wild Indian-like, never stopping until 
ever}' thing edible M^as consumed. This peculiarity applies, 
in a great measure, to all Indians ; so much so, that rations 
had to be issued to our Delawares for three days only at a 
time, for just as like as not, they would consume the whole 
in one day. They have no idea of economy or of to-morrow, 


but let that take care of itself. * 

All are proverbially hospitable, both to strangers and 
acquaintances, never turning a hungry man away empty as 
long as a scrap to eat remains in camp, but they are wasteful 
and improvident 


August 23d.— But few articles could Le obtained b barter 
from tliese Indians, as they were so scantily supplied even 
with essentials, but what they had and would part with, was 
readily taken up by different persons in the command, con- 
spicuous among whom was a full blooded Choctaw, a team- 
ster, whom we had hired when we passed through the nation, 
a shrewd fellow, who had provided himself with quite a stock 
of goods, and obtained a good supply of white buckskins, 
bows and arrows, &c., in exchange for vermilion, lookin"-- 
glasses and calico. 

In connection with this subject, I may remark, that the 
present system of trading with the prairie tribes has a great 
effect in checking all efforts of the government to prevent 
depredations upon the frontier settlements, and in this way, 
viz., a number of Delawares, Shawnees and Kickapoos, have 
for several years visited these tribes, with such articles as are 
most necessary to them, and which they will have at any cost, 
and have made large profits by the traffic. The articles they 
take are of small value, such as tobacco, paint, knives, beads, 
calico and wampum; and as the Indians have nothing of suf- 
ficient value to exchange for them, except horses and mules, 
they necessarily give them, and in large numbers. All these 
animals are obtained by marauding npon the frontier and 
in proportion to the amount traded for, so is the correspond- 
ing amount of depredation. 

A good plan to prevent this, would be an annual donation 



by the government of sticli articles as are supplied by the 
traders, with the uuderstanding that this should continue so 
long as no forays were made, and thereby depreciating the 
value of these articles, would render the trading business no 
longer profitable. 

The tribes are accustomed to exchange presents in their 
friendly intercourse with each other, and have no idea of 
friendship under any oth^r form; they also value the strength 
of attachment by the amount of presents received, as an inci- 
dent related by Captain Marcy will illustrate. 

He once held a talk with a chief of one of the tribes, and 
told him that the President of the United States was their 

friend, and wished to live on terms of peace with them. The 

chief replied, that he was much astonished to hear this, for 
judging by the few trifling presents the Captain had given 
his people, he was of opinion that the " Big Captain '' held 
them in but little estimation. 

There is no doubt but that a small amount of money, annu- 
ally expended in this way, would go far towards doing away 
entirely with the many and frequently bloody depredations of 
these people upon our poorly protected frontier. 

August 24th. — The Indians continued to leave in parties of 
two or three, during the day, until all were gone except Ke- 
tum-e-see and the invalid, who seemed to be great friends. 

Neither had any thing to say, but lounged around under 
the trees, evidently with some object in view, which greatly 
excited our curiosity, but the weather was so intensely hot, 



that we could take but little interest in any thing except the 
means of keeping cool. 

Our larder had been most bountifully supplied for a few 
days past by a dragoon from Fort Belknap, who with a party, 
an escort to an invalid officer, had been spending a week with 
us, and discovered a colony of squirrels in a bottom on the 
opposite side of the Clear Fork. They were a large species, 
tawny on the belly and legs,. and grey on the back, and so 
numerous that he shot fifty-five in four days, (going out for an 
hour at a time before the heat of the day,) which made into 
a stew were deliciously delicate and juicy- 
August 25th. — Ke-tum-e-see disclosed his intention in 
remaining this morning. He walked up to the Quarter 
Master's tent, and demanded more beef and corn, but was 
peremptorily refused, told that he must not expect any more, 
and must now look out fur himself. He walked oflF very 
angry, and soon we saw his wives bustling round, preparing 
him to leave. 
Some of us went down to his bivouac, and found him 

seated, looking as black as a thunder cloud, and taking no 
notice of anything. 

The invalid was at the same time made ready, and when 

his slave had saddled and led up his horse, the women lifted 

him on and fastened him with great difiiculty, every move- 


ment of the poor wretch being made with a groan. 

Ke-tum-e-see's horse was then saddled and led up byhia 
wives, when he mounted; and led the way across the prairie, 


not deiguiug to turn his head or grunt out a good bye, and 
this was the last of the Camanches. 

The knowing ones predicted trouble from this man, whom 
they said was revengeful and treacherous. We kept a good 
look out for him, however, and were constantly on the alert, 
as we had been during our stay in that wild spot. 

August 2Gth,— The weather was still intensely hot 
ayeraging one hundred and six degrees in the shade — and as 
the twenty-seventh was Sunday, the Captain determined to 
commence his survey on Monday, the twenty-eighth; the 
party was conso(inently busy all day in preparations, and 
those of us who had the opportunity, kept as quiet as pos- 
sible, as the most discreet plan under such a sun. 

I thought we had done with the Camanches, but was 
mistaken. Towards evening one made his appearance in the 
distance, and proved to be Naroni j but oh, how chaogcd from 
the Naroni of the council-fire. Dressed in an old torn vest, 
breech-cloth and leggins, with a shabby straw hat upon his 
head, his buffalo tail, medallions and uniform laid aside, the 
little man looked smaller still, and miserably forlorn. Ue 
had shot two bucks, and came to barter the carcases for corn. 
Lounging around for a time, and finding no trade, he rode off, 
and we saw no more of him. 

August 27th.— Sunday, intensely hot, and a general quiet 
reigning in our camp. 

Shifting their homes so constantly as these Nomadea of 


the plains do, they are very careless of offal about camp, and 
in time of plenty this evil accumulates. 

Our visitors left their temporary abode in a very disgusting 
state — half gnawed bones, and masses of cooked and raw flesh 
lying around, which soon, under the sun's intense rays, made 
us sensible of their locality. 

As a sanitary measure, the Captain determined to break 
up our camp on the morrow, and move farther up the stream, 
and though w^e should miss the fine spring at this point, we 

should be nearer the land to be surveyed, which would be 
more convenient. 

August 28th to September 4th,^ — Last night was one of great 
excitement in our camp. About midnight a general stam- 
pede of our horses took place, and as Ke-tum-e-see had left 
in such a bad humoui\ we concluded of course that the 
Indians had stolen them, but immediate pursuit being 

ordered, they were found in a ravine some miles off, much 
frightened, but supposed to have been by wolves, large jiacks 
of which had been prowling and howling around us every 
night during our stay. 

We had scarcely got quiet again, when a mounted dragoon 
rode into camp, calling loudly for the captain, and exclaiming 
that his comrade had been murdered at the rancho a mile 

above us. 

An ofScer, with the Doctor and a sufficient force, were sent 
up, when it appeared that the express rider from Fort Bel- 
knap to Fort Chadbourne, with a single dragoon as escort, had 



h ' 

arrived at the raaclio about two o'clock, A. m., and not wishing 
to disturb the inmates, were quietly tying up their mules to 
feed them, as was their custom at this place, when a young 
man, who was sleeping in the open air, being aroused, rushed 
to the house and shouted Indians. The man inside sprang 
out of bed, and seizing his gun, rushed to the door and fired 
two shots, both taking efiect upon the poor soldier and 
mortally wounding him. He lingered insensible until eight, 
A. M., and died- Our carpenter made a rude coffin, and we 
buried him upon a hill side, along side of a dragoon who had 
been killed sometime before, by the Witcliitas. 

This incident shows how exciting is frontier life, and how 
constantly upon the alert the settlers must be against attack 
or surprise. 

We moved camp six miles up the stream, on the same 
prairie and to a sirailiar spot to the one we left, though the 

water was not so good. 

Major Neighbours returned to his home near San Antonio, 
and took with him Conner, the two Jacobs and Jack Hunter 

the Shawnee. We parted with the Major with regret, his 
fund of anecdote of Indian life and customs, and his great ex- 
perience on the frontier, imparted with so much affability and 
enthusiasm had wiled away many an hour in camp and on the 
march, and we missed him very much. 

We remained at this point until the fourth of September, 


the surveying parties actively employed in running the lines 




and marking them, which was done by raising mounds at 
intervals of half a mile along the line. 

Oar mess was well supplied with wild turkeys, catfish and 
turtles, and a stream in the vicinity, a tributary of the Clear 
Fork, afforded fine sport to anglers, with a fish called here a 
trout, but which proved to be a species of bass, very game 
and rising readily to the fly. 

The soil was very fertile and the country around rich in 
minerals, and affording a fine field for geologizing. 

The rock was limestone, appearing on the south-west edge 
of the prairie piled up in layers of rectangular blocks, looking 
in the distance like a regularly built fortification. 




Surrey concluded. — Leave for Fort Belknap. — Description of conntrj passed 
over. — Manner of designating Indian Camps fcy the Belawaros. — Arrive at 
Fort Belknap. — Indian Council held. — Bear Head the interpreter. — Descrip- 
tion of Fort Belknap — Lieut. Givens, a true sportsman. — Puma chase. — 
March to Caddo Village. — Description of the Village. — Jim Shaw and his 
family. — Grasses met with on our trip, — Finish the Survey. — Leave for home. 

September 4th to 10th. — The surveying parties having con- 
chided their labours, we struck tents this morning and marched 
to Fort Belknap, where we camped for a short time to procure 
stores and prepare for future work in locating and surveying 
lands for the Caddos, Jonies, Ah-nan-da-kas, To-wac-ko-nies, 


Wichitas, and Ton-kah-was, who exist in this neighbourhood. 

The country passed over abounded in game, and we passed 
many deserted hunting-camps. Our Delawares displaying the 
same sagacity, before observed upon, in designating the name 
of the tribe, the number, and even the lodge of the chief. 

Being curious to know what signs indicated these facts, I 
asked one of them, when he gave me the following informa- 
tion, which maybe of great service to travellers on the prairie, 
enabling them, when finding a deserted camp, to know the 
friendly from the hostile Indians ; and thus, should they be 
hortile, avoid them by marching in a different direction from 

LODGES. 213 

their trail. The Caraanches make their lodges by placing 


poles in the ground, in a circle, and tying the tops together, 
forming a frame work in a conical shape, ^'hich they cover 
-with buffalo hides. 

The Wichitas make their lodges in the same manner, but 
do not unite the poles at the top — leaving an opening for 
the smoke, which when covered forms the frustrum of a cone. 

The Kickapoos place the poles in a circle, but instead of 
bringing them to a point at top, bend them so as to unite in 
an arch with those opposite, thus making the lodge round on top. 

The Delawares and Shawnees carry tents, but leave the 
poles standing wherever they encamp. 

The Cherokees have tents also, but build their fires differ- 
ent from the Delawares; they place the wood in the firo with 

the sticks parallel, and burn from one end, pushing it into the 

fire as it burns away; whereas the others place each stick 
pointing to the centre of the fire, like the spokes of a wheel. 
We arrived at Fort Belknap on the seventh. 

At a council held here, the Jonies and Ah-nan-dah-kas were 
represented by Jose Maria, the Oaddos by Ti-nah, the Wichitas 
and Wacos by 0-che-rash and Ack-a-quash, and the To-wac- 
feo-uics, by Utsiocks, Jose Maria — a fine looking man about 
sixty — was spokesman. His speech was in substance as 
follows ! 

*' I know our Great Father has power to do with us as he 
pleases ; we have been driven from our homes several times by 

the whites, and all we want is a permanent location, where we 



sliull be free from further molestation. We prefer being near 
the whites, that we may be free from the depredations of the 


wild tribes. 


"Heretofore we have had our enemies, the whites on one 
side, and the Camanches on the other, and of the two evils, we 
prefer the former, as they allow us to eat what we raise, whilst 
the Camanches take every thing, and if we are to be killed, 
we would much rather die with full bellies ; we would there- 
fore prefer taking our chances on the Brazos, where we can 
be near the wliites." 

The captain told them that their Great Father would do 
everything to make them happy and comfortable, if they would 
accede to his wishes, settle upon these lands, and confine them- 
selres to agriculture. They all expressed themselves ready 
and willing to do so, and parted on very friendly terms. 

The interpreter at this council was Bear Read, a famous 

Delaware, employed by the Indian agent for these tribes aj 

guide and interpreter. His American name was Jim Shaw. 
He had been adopted into the Caddo tribe, and become a 
chief among them. lie was the finest specimen of the Indian 
I saw during the trip, about fifty years old, full six feet six 
in height, as straight as an arrow, with a sinewy, muscular 
frame, large head, high cheek bones, wide mouth, and eye 
like an eagle— his countenance indicative of the true friend 
and dangerous enemy. 

Fort Belknap, one of the most distant posts on this fron- 
tier, is situated about a mile from the Brazos, upon an 


elevated, saudy plain, and tliougla called Fort, is destitute 
of any sign of fortification. One or two substantial stone 


buildings have been erected, but the major part are in the 
style called ^'acaZ — huts built of logs stuck up on one end and 
roofed iu with long prairie grass, the quarters scattered over 
a very extended surface, affording a fine drill ground in front. 
It was surprising how much the taste and ingenuity of the 


officers stationed here had done to improve the few advan- 
tages they had, and as usual the most unbounded hospitality 

met us at their doors.. 

Major Steen of the 2d Dragoons commanded the post, and 
had a garrison of two companies of dragoons commanded by 
Messrs. Tree and Givins, and one company of infantry com- 
manded by Major Paul, all in fine health 'and discipline,^ a 
great credit to the ofBcers, considering the arduous duties so 
small a command must perform in such an exposed position. 

Lieutenant Givins is an ardent sportsman, and by care and 
judgment has succeeded in raising the finest pack of hounds 

■thirty-five in number — on the continent, combining the 
strong scent of the fox-hound, with greater speed than usually 
found possessed by them, and the courage of the bull-terrier. 
This result he effects by retaining only the swiftest and 
healthiest, crossing the swift ones with those having a good 
nose, taking care to keep the blood pure, and always running 
his pack in company with a bull-terrier, whose examjjle 
teaches them courage, and also chasing wolves, which deve- 
lopes that quality. The colors he retains are the blue, the 

-16 'notes taken. 


yellow and the black— the blue being the swiftest, the yellow 
largest and strongest, and the black the most courageous. 
He presented ns with the skin of a full grown Texas lion or 
Puma, six feet six from tip to tip, shot by himself, and very 
perfectly preserved and stuffed. 

The chase and capture of this animal was very exciting. 

Lieutenant Givins was chasing a jackass rabbit, (which on 
the high and open plains afFord fine runs and excellent sport,) 
when his dogs opened upon this trail, and by their animation 
showed they were in pursuit of no ordinary animal. After a 
hot run for a mile they bayed at the foot of a post oak, in 
the crotch of which the lion was perched, looking as large as 
a mule, and displaying a formidable set of teeth and claws. 
While in this position he was shot through the body, and 
making a long leap escaped into a thicket from which he was 
soon routed by the dogs, and after a short run took to another 
tree, where he was shot through the shoulder, bringing him 
down, preventing him from climbing again, and allowing the 
dogs a chance to worry him. 

The whole pack, together with the horsemen, now closed in, 
and just as he was in the act of crouching to spring, Lieuten- 
ant Givins shot him in the right eye, which finished him. 

In the fight, one of the dogs had his skull broken in by a 
stroke of the lion's claws, and another had his leg torn open ; 
but it was a right royal hunt, and a glorious triumph to the 
Lieutenant's skill and good training. 

The puma resembles the African lion in ferocity and 


streugtli, having* been known to carry off a full-grown hog. 
It has a very ferocious appearance when in motion, crouches 
at the approach of an enemy, and bounds off with great swift- 
ness. It is seldom found as far north as Fort Belknap. 

At Fort Belknap we saw the boy who was so cruelly 
mangled by the Oamanches w^hen in company with Mrs. Wil- 
son, an account of whose sufferings and escape was published 
in the news of the day, during the fall of 1853. 

This boy had been scalped and left for dead, but reviving, 
managed to get into Fort Belknap, and, at the time we saw 
him, promised to recover entirely, a new cuticle having formed 
over his denuded scull, but an attack of dysentery carried him 
off after a few day^s illness. 

Though these officers bear with the most Spartan spirit 
their isolation and privations, and merge all other feelings in 
their zeal and devotion to their profession, gathering around 
them comforts and means for pursuits only to be acquired by 
highly refined and enlightened gentlemen, yet I would that 
some of our brawlers in Congress, and on the hustings, could 
visit these remote posts, and see a soldier's life in its true 
colours. A sense of shame and injustice would cause them to 
blush for past misrepresentations, and not only shut their 
mouths for the future, but open their eyes to the true light of 
merit in these devoted men Their's is no carpet-knight ser- 
vice, but a stern reality, which, calling forth all the energies 
of their natures, tempers them with the Christian virtues of 

forbearance and philanthropy— forbearance towards their ene- 



mies at court; pMlanthropy for the dusky children of the 
plains, with whom they are brought daily in contact. 

September 10th to 30th.— Having obtained the necessary 
supplies, we marched this morning at sunrise, and crossing the 
Brazos, encamped at noon about fifteen miles below Fort 
Belknap, where a selection had been made for the Indians of 
a fine body of land with plenty of wood and water. Near this 
point was a Caddo village of about one hundred and fifty 
lodges. These were constructed by erecting a frame-work of 
poles, placed in a circle in the ground, the tops united in an 
oval form, strongly bound with withes, and thatched with long 
grass. They were about twenty-five feet in diameter at the 
base and twenty feet high, making a very comfortable shelter, 
and looking in the distance like hay or grain stacks. 

Each person had a bunk raised from the ground and covered 
with skins, as a couch, and the fire was built in the centre, the 
smoke escaping from the apes of the cone. 

Our quondam acquaintance, Jim Shaw, came down and 
encamped near us, remaining during our stay. 

Jim led a Gypsy life, with his wife and two children, living 
entirely in tents, but providing many comforts for them 
unknown or unthought of by other Indians. 

I visited his camp several times, and was surprised to find 
some domestic appendages wMcL I did not expect to see with 
them, moving aa they did from place to place, viz., two cats 
and some barn-yard fowls. 

He seemed very fond of his family, and anxious that his 

r i GRASSES. 219 


children might go to school, and that he might soon be 
settled on the Eeserve, and have his farm and permanent 
home. He bad provided his wife with an excellent side 
saddle, aud in her tent I saw a musqidto bar, a luxury 
scarcely to be expected in an Indiuu camp. 

Near our camp I found large- quantities of the black mes- 
quite grass, a very favourite grass with all who haye tried it, 
and I collected a stock of the seed, which I trust may stand 
our climate, as from the avidity with which our animals eat 
it, I am sure it would be a great addition to our northern 
crops, either for pasture or fodder. It grows about as high as 
timothy, and has a head on it like wheat. The grasses met 
with are the white gramma, the blue gramma, three varieties 
of the sedge, the buffalo grass, the bearded mesquite and the 
black mesquite. 

Of these, the buffalo grass would make a beautiful sod for 
lawns, as its growth is very short and velvety, appearing 
more like the thickest kind of moss than grass. I observed 
that our horses eat it in preference to any other, even when 
it was quite dry, and green succulent grass in its vicinity. I 
could not procure any seed. 


But few of the Indians came in to our camp, and those that 
did were some of the chiefs named, aud a few war captains. 
Those we saw were not as fine looking nor as wild as the 
Camauches, but very subdued and demure in their appear- 
ance and demeanor. 

The tract to be surveyed was located on both sides of the 


Brazos, whicli liere was very crooked, the water very bitter, 
and the bed of stream quicksand. The amount to be sur- 
veyed, twelve square leagues, took of coui-se a much longer 
time than on the Clear Fork, added to which was a difference 
in the kind of ground, a portion of this being quite moun- 
tainous. The surveying party worked diligently, however, 
•and by the twenty-ninth had completed their labours, and on 
the thirtieth, we struck tents and started on our homeward 
trip by way of Fort Belknap. 

JOHN Conner. ^oj 



. — John 

Delawares.— Traits of character with aaecdotes illustrative.— Description of 
other tribes. -Creek green corn danc« and feast.— Traditions among the 
tribes,— iTicideut of the Quapaws.— The Camanches.— Number and division:— 
Supposed origin.— Religious ideas.— Contempt for the whites.- Treatment of 

vromcn.— Customs among them.— Their habits.— Anecdotes of the Camanches. 
— General remarks. 

The Indians who subsist in the vast regions of the far 
South-west, are the Camanches, Wacos, Caddos, Jonies, Ah- 
nan-dah-kas, To-wac-co-nics, Ton-kah-ways, Paluxsies, Mos- 
calara, Apaches, Lipans, Kechies, Witchitas, Kickapoos, 
Quapaws, Kioways, and Navajoes, all Nomadic and the 
Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Shawnees, and 
Delawares, who live in permanent homes. 

The principal settlement of the Delawares is on Caw river, 
Missouri, but there is quite a number settled at old Fort 
Arbuckle, in the Choctaw nation, from whence our hunters 
and guides were procured, 

John Conner, our quondam interpreter and guide, was a 

very intelligent man, differing from the generality of Indians 

in this respect, viz., he would not only give a direct answer to 

a question, but also express a decided opinion and support it 
by argument. 



As a general thing, Indians are non-committal, their eternal 
" may he so," always giving them a hole to escape by. 


From Conner, I learned a great deal about his tribe. The 
Delawares are by far the most intelligent Indians in the 
South-west. By a law of their tribe, a wife is sole owner of 
all the property she may be possessed of at the time of her 
marriage, and all she may afterwards accumulate. The 
practice of purchasing a wife still exists among them. Poly- 
gamy is also allowed, but is by no means common. 


Conner told me that the price of a wife was " one horse, 
five blankets, and goods so high," holding his hand about 
a foot from the ground, a very indefinite quantity to be sure, 
but of course understood to mean enough to satisfy the 
parent. When the bargain is concluded the woman must 
accede, there is no alternative, and hence much misery is 
entailed upon families, feelings of dislike having carried 
individuals so far as to cause them to commit murder. 

The bashful youths, get their mothers to make the bar- 
gain for them, and Jackson, who had quarreled with his 
wife before leaving home — amused me very much by his 
description of how he intended to get another when he 
returned,— He said, "my wife all the time mad, me go out 
hunt, come back, he say, where you been devil ; all time 
mad, den me say may be so you quit, den he go, now go home, 
plenty of money, may be so my mudder he catch nudder 
wife," throwing his arm out with the same motion he used 
when throwing the lariat to noose his horse. 



means of gratificatioa of either appetite or fancy, never 
saving up any thing for the future. Stealing horses seems to 
be a vice and propensity peculiar to all Indians, and the 
Delawares are not an exception. Like all Indians, the labour 
of planting corn, taking care of stock and all drudgery is 
performed by their women. 

They are very inquisitive but not credulous. Captain 
Marcy once showed a Delaware a pocket compass. He was 
much interested, watched the escalations of the needle and 
the effect of passing a piece of steel over the glass, then 
walked away keeping his eyes attentively fixed upon the 
needle and the invariable manner in which it settled down to 
the same spot. He could not understand it, but with Indian 
incredulity, remarked, " May be so he lie sometime." 

The Captain, upon another occasion, endeavoured to 
explain to one of them the magnetic telegraph, and told him 
that by means of it a message could be sent one thousand 
miles, and an answer returned in ten minutes. He seemed 
much interested, but ma^e no remark until the Captain told 
him to explain it to a Camanche who was standing by. He 
replied, "Captain me, not tell him dat j me not believe it 

Although reliable, when pledged to perform any duty, they 
are like all Indians, tricky. 

Captain Black Beaver — who has been mentioned before, 
and who lives at old Fort Arbuckle— had been frequently in 



■ m 

the employ of the gOYernment, and out with the officer who 
relates this anecdote, but declining to go upon a late expe- 
dition, he procured for the officer the services of John Bush- 
man, another Deleware. 

The officer told Bushman to inform his corps of hunters 
and guides that they would be paid one dollar and a half a 
day and one ration. Shortly after this, it was necessary to 
have an interpreter to a wild tribe that was met, and Bush- 
man acted. 

After the talk he said to the officer, " You not tell me what 
you give me." The officer insisted that he had told him 


one dollar and a half per day. He replied " Black Beaver he 
say two dollar half one day." The officer told him that he 
made his own bargains, and the government hr,d no money to 
squander, but that on condition of his acting as interpreter 
he would increase his pay half a dollar. 

On the return of the expedition, and after he was paid, the 
officer asked him, "John, will you go again?" '* No," was his 
reply, " dat government he not got no money." It turned out 
to be apian of Black Beaver to share half of the two dollars 
and a half, but did not succeed. 

They are brave to a fault, never turning their bScks upon 
the foe. The following anecdote, related of this same Cap- 
tain Black Beaver, is an illustration: 

He accompanied a government expedition, some years since, 
into the Camanche country, and being out upon a scout one 
day, accompanied by a white man attached to the train, they 


were siuldciily surprised 'by seven Camauclies, ^vho, cirelin*-' 

T M 

round them, made every hostile demonstration. 

The white man, being mounted upon a fleet blood mare, 
proposed to run for camp, when Beaver turned to him, and 
cocldng his rifle, said, very quietly, " May be so you run, may 
be so I shoot you." He continued his determined manner 
towards the Camanches, and the consequence was himself 
and companion returned safely to the train 

They are very proud of their race, and nothing in^sulis 
them more than to be called out of the name of Indian. 
An officer was sent ofl" with a detachment of our party, and 
took Jackson as hunter and guide. To our surprise, the Indian 
returned alone, looking very sour and angry. He said, "Pat 
man he say you dog, you no hunt deer. Me no dog, me In- 
dian ; me not can kill deer, me not see him close. Me kill deer, 
mc see him. Me not stay, me not dog, mc Indian," raisiji 
himself proudly to his full height and striking his hand 
forcibly upon his breast. At heart they hate the white man, 


but are shrewd enough to know that it is for their interest to 
be friendly and faithful. 

Their extraordinary powers of endurance and perse ve- 


ranee have been frequently tested. An officer once ordered 

one of them to follow a trail and see where it led to. He 

returned shortly and said it led off into the prairie and to 

no particular spot. He was told this was not satisfactory and 

must follow it up and find out certainly. He left immediately 

and for weeks nothing was heard of him, when no sooner had 



the commuud arrived at the first settlement than he made his 
appearance, and told the officer that the trail he ordered him 
to foUoWj terminated there, having with indomitable perseve- 

rancc followed it several hundred miles through that wild 
country, subsisting upon what he could kill, but determined 

to obey orders to the letter. 

Their sagacity in detecting and describing signs in the 

prairie I have before remarked upon, and it appears to be intui- 
tive and peculiar to the Indian. In crossing a trail one day, one 
of them picked up a blade of grass that had been crushed, 
and said that the trail was two days old, when to all appear- 
nncc it was perfectly fresh ; subsequent events proved he 
was correct. At another time, the attention of one of them 
was called to some tracks in the sand, looking like the 
impression made by the toes, foot and heel of a bear, he 
immediately pointed to some blades of grass hanging about 
ten inches over the marks, and explained that when the wind 


blew, the blades were pressed over, and their oscillations 
scooped out the light sand in the form seen. 


These traits, besides their wonderful powers of judging of 
country and knowledge of Indian character and habits, 
render them invaluable on the frontier, and it would be 
well for the government to attach a few to each company of 


troops engaged m this service, thus enabling them to operate 
to much greater advantage against the prairie tribes. 

The Shawnees live on Little River, a tributary of the 
Canadian. They assimilate to the Delawares, and inter- 


many witli tliem, tlie same traits of character Lcing observ 

The Seminoles (under Wild Cat, of Florida-war memory) 
lire on the Rio Grande. The Choctaws and Chickasaws 
have been already described, and the Creeks live on a 
Reserve bounded on the north by the south shore of the 

Conner described to nie the Creek green corn dance and 
feast, which he said is a religions ceremony with them. As 
soon as the corn is edible, the different villages assemble, and 
after some preliminary ceremonies, begin to swallow large 
quantities of a decoction of a species of lobelia^ called anioug 
them the *^ DeviVs shoe-sfringj'^ This brings on violent 
vomiting and purging, until the whole stomach and bowels 
are cleansed, when they proceed to gorge themselves with 
green com to satiety, and the quantity consumed is according 
to him enormous. They then sleep, and afterwards com- 
mence the green corn dance, which lasts until all are worn 
down with fatigue ; a singular custom and one scarcely to be 
imagined even anxong savages- 

These six tribes all live iu houses, and cultivate the soil to 
a greater or less extent, in a majority of cases barely suffi- 
ciently so for a support- 

The Caddos, lonies and Ah-uan-duh-kas, numbered about 
seven hundred and fifty warriors, women and children ; speak 
the same language and intermarry. They have a traditicn 
that they issued from the hot .springs of Arkansas, and from 



that went to Red River near NatcliitocLes, and fiually to llie 

Of the To-wac-o-nies there were fifty-one men, sixty-three 
'Women and fifty-five children. 

The Wacos numbered sixty-five men, eighty-eight women, 
and seventy-two children. 

These five tribes were living in great harmony, had nume- 
rous herds of horses and mules, all stolen from the whites, 
and at some of their temporary straw villages raised corn, 
beans, squashes and melons. They were all of pure Indian 
blood, and though their women were said to be far from 
chaste, they did not mingle with white men. 


As far as could be ascertained, there were eighty Witchita 
men, one hundred and twelve women, and one hundred and 
twenty-two children. 

They are most arrant horse thieves and scoundrels, and 
have given more trouble to the settlers in Texas than any 
other tribe. They have a village upon Rush Creek, a tribu- 
tary to the "Washita, a kind of rendezvous for them, from 
which they make constant marauding expeditions. 

The Kickapoos live on the Washiia near Fort Arbuckle ; 
ore very famous hunters, and somewhat less savage, thonn-h 
with ardent propensities for horse-stealing. The Paluxsies 
are but a mere remnant, wandering from place to place in a 
destitute and squalid condition. They number about sixty as 
a maximum. The Tonkaways have a tradition that their pro- 


genitor came into the world by the agency of a wolf, aiul 
commemorate the event by the wolf dance. 

This dance is conducted with the greatest secrecy, and 
it is only by the most urgent solicitation that spectators arc 
admitted to this curious scene. 

Upon entering the dance lodge — a long, low building made 


"of poles and thatched with grass — about fifty performers 
were observed, all dressed in wolf skins, so as perfectly to 
represent the animal. They went around on all fours, howled 

and made other demonstrations peculiar to the wolf. After 
going around awhile they all stopped, and one smelled the 
earth at a particular spot, howled and began to scratch. A 
general scratching then took place, and pretty soon they 

unearthed a genuine live Tonkaway, who had been interred 
for the purpose. As soon as he was dragged out a general 
council was held, when the Tonkaway addressed them thus, 
" You have brought me into the world and I know not what 
to do for a subsistence ; it would have been better to let me 
remain as I was. I shall starve in this world." After 
mature deliberation they put a bow and arrows into his 
hands and told him he must do as the wolves do, rob, kill 
and wander from place to place, and never cultivate the soil, 
and this ^hey have done ever since. 

The Apaches and Lipans are very numerous, fierce and 
warlike. They are more generally supplied with fire-arms 


than other tribes, and are in a state of constant hostllitv to 

the whites. 


-30 NOTES TAIvE.V. ' 

The Kecliics innnbereJ about ouc huuJred warriors, and 
the Quapaws only thirty-five. 

All those tribes use the horse in war and in the chase, 
supply themselves with both horses and mules by stealing, 
and always have a good supply. 

'J'he Quapaws, a small remnant of the once powerful Arkan- 
sas, are an illustration of the rapid degeneracy and neces- 
sarily final disappearance of the Indian. Once called by 
way of distinction "the fine men," and complimented as 
the most distinguished warriors, for having conquered the 
powerful Chickasaws, at the time the most numerous and 
warlike among the tribes, they are now reduced to a hand- 
ful of squaUd half starved beggars, soon to be lost en- 

^^ r 

lirely or merged in some other tribe. 

An incident is related of one of their encounters with the 
Chickasaws, which shows the once great magnanimity of a 
nation now so near annihilation. 

The Chickasaw chief thought most prudent to make a pre- 
cipitate retreat in consequence of having no powder, which 
when told to the Quapaw chief, he determined that they 
should be put upon an equality with his band, and ordering 
all his warriors to empty their powder horns into a blanket, 
tnade an equal division and sent one-half to his enemies ; the 
fight began, and ended in a signal defeat of the Chic'kasaws. 

Tim Oamanchos and Kioways are the most numerous 
tribes in the South West, have similar habits, but do not 


speak tliG same laiipiage— nor Jo the Kioways roam as far 
soutli as the Camanclies. 

The Camanctes are the '* lords of the plahis." They are 
the most warlike and powerful, and number over twenty 
thousand. They are separated into three grand divisions ; 
the Northern, Middle and Southern, and these sub-divided 
into bands commanded by separate chiefs. They suppose 
that their forefathers came from a country towards the setting 
sun, Tliey acknowledge a supreme ruler and director, whom 
they call the Great Spirit ; but in their devotions appeal 
directly to the sun and earth, saying that one is the great cause 
of life, and the other the receptacle and producer of all that 
sustains life ; accordingly when they eat or drink, they sacri- 
fice a good portion to the Great Spirit, saying that otherwise 
he would be angry, and Turing upon them ill-fortune. They 
say that they cannot worship God, he is too far off, but they 
can worship the sun, who is between them and the Supreme 
Being. They entertain an inherent dislike for the whites and 
are very suspicions of their motives in visiting them. Some 
of their chiefs have visited Washin 

strong impressions of the strength of the whites, but the most 
of them believe the Camanches to be the most powerful 
nation in existence, and any opposition to this idea only sub- 
jects the relator to ridicule and want of confidence. Captain 
Marcy relates a conversation he overheard between a 
Camanche and a Delaware, in which the latter endeavoured 
to prove to the Camanche that the earth was round, and 


tbat it Tevolvecl rouna the sun. Tlie Camauclie inaignanlly 
asked if lie took liim for an idiot, that any man could see tliat 
the earth was perfectly leyel by only looking off, over the 
prairie, and moreover his grandfather had been to the west end 
of it, where the sun went down behind a wall. The Delaware 
continued to describe to him other things he had seen among 
the whites, all of which the Camanche attributed to some 
necromancy or spell put upon him by thcmj and only deigned 
to reply, by repeating ** Hush, you fool." 

An intelligout Chickasaw once visited them and endeavoured 
to impress upon one of them the benefits that would result to 
them if they would cease their wandering life, and learn to 
read, write and cultivate the soil ; that the whites had taught 
his people and they had become a happy people. The 
Camanche replied that he would willingly agree to be taught, 
but that iJie whiics were $uch great rascals he could not trust 
them, nor consent to be taught by them ; that if the Choctaws 

■ * 

and Chickasaws would send out men to teach them, they w^ould 
excuse those wishing to learn from war and hunting, but that 

he must think there were very few, if any, Jionest white men ; 
showing that he entertained bitter hostility towards us. 

The Camanche men are of middle stature, light copper- 
colored complexions, and intelligent countenances, but the 
women are short, crooked-legged, and far from good-looking. 
The men arc grossly licentious, treating female captives in a 
most cruel and barbarous manner ; but they enforce rigid 


chastity upon their women, everj' dereliction from which is pun- 


iblied by cutting off the tip of the nose, as an indelible mark of 



burden, and every degrading service that can be inflicted npon 
them falls to their lot, yet strange to say they seem contented, 
and submit without a murmur. They are not prolific, a woman 
seldom having more than three children, which if males, are 
nurtured with great care, wMst the females are abused and 
often beaten unmercifully. 

When a man wants a wife, he goes to the head of the family 
(who, according to their laws, is either the father, or if he is 
dead, the sou who has most distinguished himself in war or 
hunting, even if he should be a younger son) and lays down 
before him such goods as he thinks will be acceptable, and then 
sits down at some distance to await the result. After smoking 
a pipe, the goods are examined, and if acceptable, the girl is 
led out and handed over. For her there is no alternative, 
and repugnance often occasions " liasons" with former lovers. 

Should an elopement take place, in such cases the 
husband and his friends follow until they overtake the 
fugitives, when formerly the man was put to death, but now 
they compromise by purchase, the husband takes horses 
until he is satisfied, the wife remains the property of her 
choice, and all return to the village contented. 

The old men get possession of all the young girls they can, 
and make a profit out of them in this way, viz : a young man 
will pay a large bonus to be admitted as a member of the 
family and allowed to marry, after which, besides the bonus, 



part of all tliat lie obtains In war or hunting, becomes the 
property of the old head of the family; they often liberate 
prisoners on the same conditions. 

Young girls are not reluctant to marry very old men, if they 
are chiefs, being sure of always having something to eat, if 
there is anything in camp, the chief always having first 

A shrewd trrck related of Mo-ko-cho-pee — a deceased chief 
of the Sontheru Camanches — amused me very much. The 
old fellow was one of a party that visited Washington, and 
was much interested with what he saw, and wished to travel 
generally through the States, but finding this required money, 
he returned to his tribe determined to accumulate sufficient 
to pay his expenses on the grand tour. Whenever any of 
his band— which they often did, after returning from a foray, 
would bring him coins to ask the value, he would always tell 
them it was best to throw them away, as they were worthless ; 
knowing they would follow his advice, he would watch closely 
where the coins were thrown, and going out secretly, secure 
them. In this way, it was found when he died, that he had 
accumulated a very large sum of money. 

In trading they are careful to have a good price fixed for ft 
herd of horses and mules, by displaying the best stock first, 
when all the rest are expected to be taken at the same price. 
They also prefer a variety rather than quantity, even though 
the goods may not be so valuable. 
They never travel twice upon the same trail, and on leaving 

WAR TARXr. 205 

a camp, separate into small parties, each one taking a differ- 
ent route, and arriving at some appointed place. They eat 
nothing but meat, and are called among the other tribes 
** the buffalo eaters." 

Always travelling upon an empty stomach, they ride fast 
and far, then eat enormously, and afterwards sleep imme- 
diately, when they are again ready for the road. 

No young man is admitted into the ranks of the braves 
until he has stolen a number of horses and mules and taken 
scalps, the consequence is that parties will go off and begone 
sometimes two years, and it is these who commit the most 
horrid atrocities upon the plains. ^ 

They require no equipments on these expeditions but their 
horses and weapons, subsisting upon what they find on their 

When a chief wishes to 
back, holdfng erect a long pole with a red flag tipped with 
eagle's feathers attached, and rides through the camp singing 

his war-song. Those who wish to go fall in, and after going 
round for a while they dismount, and the war-dance com- 
mences. This routine is gone through with several days, 
until sufficient volunteers are collected. Each warrior 
provides his own horse and equipments, and they manage to 
mount themselves upon white or cream-colored horses if 
possible, which they paint all over in the most fantastic 
figures imaginable. 

The whole thing is voluntary, but oae who behaves 



cowardly is disgraced, nor do they return until the wish to do 


so is unanimous. Should the expedition prove unsuccessful 
they separate into small parties, and on their way back to 
their tribe, rob and kill whenever an opportunity oifcrs, as it 
is considered disgraceful to return empty handed ; they also 
shave their horses' tails and put on mourning for a long time. 
If it is successful, they send a herald ahead to announce their 
arrival, when great preparations are made to receive them, 


the old women set up a shout of exultation when they 
appear, the scalp dance commences, and is performed with all 
the ceremonies, 

Wheh a Camanche warrior dies, he is buried upon the top 
of the highest hill near camp, with his face to the East, his 
war-horse is killed and his weapons burnt up, his other 
animals having their manes and tails shaved close, and the 


women have to cut their hair close, as a symbol of mourning. 
For a long time after the decease the relatives and friends 
assemble morning and evening to cry, and howl and cut 
themselves with knives. This ceremony takes place outside 
tlie encampment, and lasts sometimes a month. They bury 
immediately after death, not permitting the body to remain 

above ground any longer than necessary to prepare the 


When a young warrior dies, they mourn a long time, but 
when an old person dies, they mourn but little, saying that 
they cannot live forever, and it was time they should go. 

They believe all go up to a place above, where thoy are 


happy, that they arc permitted to visit the earth at night, 


but must return at daylight. 

The Osages and other northern tribes have the same 


custom of howling at the death of friends, with this addition , 
that presents are distributed to the mourners ; many there- 
fore come to howl in expectation of getting a present. 

Jim Shaw told me that he knew one old woman who kept up 
howling so long, that one of the friends of the deceased asked 
her what she wanted, and what she howled for, she immedi- 
ately said for a horse, which was given her, and she became 
silent. He also told mc that the practice of cutting them- 
selves, was done in many instances in order to promote tears 
by the pain. 

The Caddos howl when in want and distress, saying that 
the Great Spirit will hear and assist them if they cry to him> 
an untutored and primitive idea of prayer. 
Whilst Major Neighbours was with the TonkawayH, a band 
of forty Camanches, headed by Mo-ko-cho-pee, came into 
camp, and were very exacting in their demands, ordering the 
Tonkaways to take care of their horses, and get them some 
supper, which was immediately done, and at the same time 
forty of their best looking girls were assigned to their guests. 
The Major endeavored to get'on good terms vdth the chief, 
told him he was Indian agent for Texas, and that the people 
of that State desired to keep peace with all the Indians, and 
especially with the Camanches. 

The chief replied, that the whites were great rascals, but 




he believed the Major to be a very clever fellow, and he 
particularly admired the coat he wore, M'hereupon the Major 
pulled it off and gave it to him. Another then admired his 
vest, another his pantaloons, another his boots, and so on to 
his cravat and stockings, thus completely denuding the Major 
of a new outfit he had made in Washington^ and leaving him 
in his shirt. He says, however, that naked though he was, . 
he laughed heartily at the grotesque appearance of these 
fellows, strutting about, each with some portion of his ward- 
robe upon his tawny figure. They were so much pleased with 
his generosity, that they insisted upon his going along with 
them, and told him that if he would join their horse-stealing 
expedition, they would adopt him into their tribe,— thinkin 
he might prevent them from depredating, he went with them. 
A few days afterwards, they came to the rancho of an old 
Mexican, where the Major applied for some beef for them, 
telling the Mexican that he would see him paid ; the old man 
refused unless the money was paid beforehand, when the cluef 
told him that he wanted two beeves, and if they were not 
forthcoming in half an hour, he would burn his rancho and 
kill his stock, it is needless to say the beeves were handed 
over. The Major remained a few days longer with them, but 
getting tired persuaded them to let him go. This anecdote 
illustrates how completely the Camanches have ruled in the 
plains, the terror of the other wandering tribes, and the 
scourge of the frontier settlements, their reign it is to be 
hoped is at an end. 


In roaming over the plains of the South-west I was strnck 
with their similarity to the steppes of Tartary and the deserts 
of Arabia, but not more so than with the resemblance of the 
inhabitants of both. 

The Nomades of the old world and the wild Indian of the 
prairie have no permanent abiding place, but where their 
lodges are pitched there are their homes. Their respective 
governments are patriarchal, sanctioned by the masses, and 
guided by the counsels of the elders. They never cultivate 
the soil, but subsist upon plunder and the chase. They are 
alike in their attachment to the horse and expertness in horse- 
manship. Coinciding in their views of the rights of property, 
they consider stealing from strangers as perfectly legitimate, 
are the greatest marauders on earth, and he who is most 
expert and successful is the greatest among them. 

In minorand domestic customs they are identical. Polygamy 
is allowed, they sit cross-legged upon mats, are very fond of 
tobacco, and saddle, bridle, and mount their horses from the 
right side, they also eat with their fingers. 

The estimation in which a successful robber is held, is illus- 
trated by an anecdote of an old chief, who said he had four 
sons who were a great comfort to him in his declining years, 
as they could steal more horses than any young men in the 

The favourite horse of 'the wild Indian is his constant com- 
panion, and it is when mounted and going through with his 
war-exercises that he shows to the best advantao:e. In the 



saddle from boyhood to old age, lie acquires such skill and 
dexterity as to realize the appearance of the famed Centaur 
of mythology. Throwing himself entirely on one side of hia 


horse, he will discharge his arrows with the utmost rapidity 
from beneath the animal's neck, whilst at full speed, shielding 
his person by the animal's body, and regaining his seat with 
no effort except the muscles of the leg. 

The bow is their favourite weapon, and being placed in the 
hands of the boys at an early age, they acquire extraordinary 
proficiency, rendering them not only successful in the chase but 
formidable in war. At short distances, they will frequently 
throw an arrow entirely through the huge carcass of the 


With a shield made of untanned buffalo-hide, they protect 
themselves from this weapon in war, fastening it upon the 
left arm, so as not to interfere with the free use of the hand, 
and performing their feats of horsemanship; equipped in this 
way, with the addition of a war-club, made of a heavy stone, 
grooved in around the centre to receive a withe bound with 

Brave to a fault, they always fight in the open prairie, 
charging boldly up to their enemies, discharging their missiles 
and advancing and retreating with great rapidity. 

Though kind and hospitable to strangers, and fraternal in 
their intercourse with each other, they are implacable in their 
hatred, and any insult offered can only be atoned for by blood. 

They believe in amulets and charms, and in dreams— the 


vapour-bath is used both for healing diseases and as a pre- 
paration for young men who wish to assume the rank of 

They have no idea of Christianity, nor have missionaries 
ever visited them, offering a wide field for those philanthropists 
who are now sending the blessings of the gospel to distant 
lands : here is a people at our very doors, to whom we may 
atone in this way, in some measure, for the wrongs they have 
suffered at our hands. 

Their present and former modes of subsistence being 
rapidly on the decline, it becomes an interesting question 
what is to become of these people. The views of the govern, 
ment, in this expedition, would ameliorate their condition, but 
their inherent dislike of the white man and his customs, are 
the great barrier to its success, and of three extremities 
my opinion is, they will adhere to their present life, and 
finally disappear entirely— they must either work, steal, or 
starve; stealing being more congenial, they will continue 
to follow it until repeated chastisement accomplishes their 




October 1st.— We 

ment of tlie trip was over ; the object of the expedition was 
attained, and we were all heartily tired and anxious once more 
for tlie comforts of borne and the society of friends. 

We had been fortunate in not losing a man by sickness or 
casualty, and in this respect had great cause for congratu- 
lation after the great privations suffered, and the extent of 
country passed over. 

Leaving the train in charge of the subalterns to march to 
Fort Arbuckle, the Captain, Doctor, and myself, passed ra- 
pidly over the road to Fort Smith, where we arrived on the 
fifteenth, when the Captain and myself procured a convey- 
ance by land through Arkansas and Missouri, and arriving 
at Jefferson City on the twenty-fourth, the first of November 
found us both at our respective homes, after a six months 


absence, and thus ended my tour on the Prairies. 

* * 






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out edges 1 00 

Colored plates, ... 

Fairy Wreath. 384 pages, illustrated with over 100 Engravings. Extra muslin, 


1 00 


Oilt edges 1 00 

Colored plates 1 00 

Tales of Adventures. 384 pages, illustrated with oyer 150 Engravings. Extra 

muslin, gilt 75 

Gilt edges. 1 00 

Colored plates....... ,..„... , 1 00 

Xjittle Traveller's Keepsake. 384 pages, illustrated with over 100 Engravings. 

extra muslin, gilt 75 

Gilt edges 1 00 

Colored plates ,. 1 00 

Love child's Shilling Iiibrary. 6 rolumea l)eautifully fllostrated, containing 

the foUowiag interesting volvimes for the youn 



The Cleter Bot, Thb Little B.isket Maker, 

The Krs'a of the Swasts, * Ths Two Doves, 
Hasry Tripp, Water Faiet. 
Stiff paper covers,— per dozen ....► 1 50 

Extra muslin « *• 


3 00 

Hayes & Zell's Catalogue ojf Books. 

The Old Oak (Jhest and other Stories. 240 pages, ftncy backs 30 

Extra Biuslin, gilt 45 

Mother Goose's Melodies. 128 Engravings, paper, per dozen 1 12 

muslin, per dozen....... , 2 25 

ESPERANZA ; or, the Home of the Wanderers. 

BjSIiss AxxE BowEN, beautifully illustrated with fine engravings on tinted paper 
By Waitt,— 384 pages, 12mo., muslin 

Uis is one of the most interesting books of the kind erer written for the young. 
It contains the adventures of a Family who had the misfortune to be ca.«t 
on the Coast of South America, who, after many thrilling, perilous and 
amusing incidents, while travelling inland and crossing the Andes, finally 
settled in a wild and desolate region. It is also very instructive, contain- 
ing many curious facta from Natural History, Botany, &c. 

Eight seta Polka Quadkilles, the prettiest and most popular in use. 

Three sets Mazourka Quadrilles. 



Winner's Collection of Music for the Violin, containing 80 pages of the 

most popular music of the day, arran{;ed in the easiest and best manner, 
entirely in the first position,— each, 30 

"Winner's Complete Method for the Violin, containing full and complete 

instructiooa for that instrument, with progressive eserclBcs carefully arrangeti, 

and a large collection of the latest music,— each, 30 

Winner's Approved Aecordeon Method, on an entirely new plan, con- 
taining the rudiments of Mu^ic, Scales, and Exercises, by which a person vaa 
learn to play mu?ic in any key, whether written for the Piano, Tiolin or Flute, — 
each, ..„.. 30 

Winner's Popular Method for the Flute, containing Instructions for the 
Instrument, Exercises, and a large variety of beautiful Music carefully arranged, 
among which are Quadrilles from some of the best Operas^ — each, 30 

*** The above Four "Works contain the largest collection of new and popular 
Music ever before published and arranged for the several instruments; the 
Music in each book is different, they contain — 

Twelve Sets CoTiLLTo:fs, arranged from beautiful Opera Air^ Ethiopian Songs, 
&c., Ac. 



Hayes k Zell's Catalogue of Books. 

Tweuty-eight of the latest and most fashionable Poleas, 

Thirty Waltzes, Twenty Schottisches, Sixty Reels, Ji-s, nornpipcs, and upwards 
of 200 Misccllannous pieces, such as Ballads, Quicksteps, Mazourkas, Gallop?, 

Ethiopian Airs, .tc, &c., all of which are suitable either for the Violin or 

Music paper. 


Cap 4to., assorted kinds, with fine steel EngraTinga, each, 1 25 

Double thickness 2 OO 

Autograph Books, each 75^ 1 12, 1 50 

Albums, Demy 4to., assorted kinds, fine colored plates , 3 75 

Bo. EngniTlngs, _ 3 ^